Discover Big Sur

Jul 23 2014

California, the Golden State, boasts a warm, Mediterranean-like climate, stunning coastline and breathtaking landscape. The best way to explore this state is by hiring a car with Alamo Rent A Car and hitting the open road, embarking on a road trip adventure. And one of the most spectacular driving experiences in California has to be the 90-mile stretch that is Big Sur, which will also make a welcome break if you’re looking to escape the bright lights, and chaotic city vibes of LA or San Francisco. Here, we will take a look at some of the highlights, and top things to see and do on your American road trip to Big Sur!

Big Sur, Highway 1, California

California State Route 1

California State Route 1, or the ‘Pacific Coast Highway’, is the route that you will want to take, if you’re planning a Big Sur road trip. The road is famous for running along some of the most beautiful coastline to be found anywhere in the United Sates, with the first section opening in the 1930s around Big Sur. Without a doubt, the most awe-inspiring part of this drive is the section of road that takes you over the famous Bixby Creek Bridge, offering incredible views out to sea. The road also serves as a main thoroughfare between San Francisco and Los Angeles, so it is incredibly accessible, no matter where you are in California.

Bixby Creek Bridge, Big Sur, California

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

Named after the first European settlers back in the 19th century, Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park covers over 1,000 acres and surrounds the Big Sur River. The area is most well-known for its groves of giant redwood trees with plenty of adventurous hiking trails to explore, which will also take you to the powerful 60ft high Pfeiffer Falls.

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

Not to be confused with the aforementioned Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is nevertheless also renowned for its redwood groves and beautiful waterfall. One of the most iconic views in the Big Sur area, in fact, is of McWay Cove and the 80ft McWay Falls, which plunge into the Pacific Ocean, which can be found in the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.

McWay Waterfall, Big Sur, California

Esalen Institute

The Esalen Institute, named after the Native American Esselen Tribe who once inhabited the area, is a non-profit organisation and retreat, centred around humanistic development and growth. One of the best experiences on offer at the Esalen Institute is the after-midnight hot spring baths that overlook the ocean. Bathing beneath the stars is a surreal experience, and not one to be missed.

Henry Miller Memorial Library

Big Sur has a long literary history, inspiring the works of many authors, including Jack Kerouac and Henry Miller. Miller lived in the area for almost two decades, writing some of his most famous works, and as such, his friend founded the non-profit Henry Miller Memorial Library in honour of his work in 1981. Housed in the library is a collection of Miller’s own work, as well as that of other beat authors whom he inspired and influenced. A gem for any bookworms amongst you.

There is all this, and plenty more besides, to discover in the Big Sur area of California. And with Alamo, you can pick up a hire car in either Los Angeles or San Francisco, from where it is an easy, beautiful drive along the coast to Big Sur.

Major league: summer’s hottest U.S. baseball destinations

Jul 21 2014

As U.S. temperatures soar and the holiday spirit kicks in, the nation’s favourite sport is enjoying an unbroken reign over city stadiums, sports bar Jumbotrons and general conversation. The Major League Baseball (MLB) season runs from March to September with games played throughout the week, so everyone from the mildly curious to the downright fanatical can catch a ballgame.

As a simple primer, American baseball pits two teams of nine against each other – one batting, the other fielding. The batting team tries to hit a leather-coated rubber ball as far away from the fielders as possible, circling a diamond-shaped collection of bases before the ball is retrieved, then they switch sides. Think rounders with longer wooden bats and an oversized leather glove for stopping 90-mph balls without the loss of fingers. The team with the most runs at the end of nine innings wins, and everything else can be picked up from the guy sitting next to you.

Aside from a neighbourhood sports bar or Little League field, here are our prime spots to enjoy traditional baseball.

Wrigley Field, Chicago IL

Baseball

Team: Chicago Cubs
Address: 1060 W Addison St, Chicago, IL 60613, United States
Nickname: ‘The Friendly Confines’
Mascot: Clark, the bear-cub
Capacity: 41,152
Opened: 1914
Cheapest/most expensive ticket: $20 / $281 (dugout box)
Dog-food: Decade Dogs presents an edible history of the humble all-American hot dog, including something vaguely resembling a cheesesteak. A celebration of the 1930s, apparently.
Why visit Wrigley Field? 2014 is the stadium’s 100-year anniversary, plus it’s one of the only MLB clubs to still operate a hand-turned scoreboard for reasons unknown. Baseball history right here.

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Best things to see and do in the Cotswolds

Jul 18 2014

The Cotswold region is typified by rolling hills, green pastures and honey-coloured limestone buildings. It truly lives up to its billing as the largest area of outstanding natural beauty in the UK. However, a visit to this quintessentially British countryside region doesn’t just provide beauty; there is also plenty to do. The Cotswolds covers a vast area and is best explored by hiring a car with Alamo to drive around, discovering each destination. Let’s take a look at the highlights of this idyllic slice of British life.

Sudeley Castle

 

Sudeley Castle

Sudeley Castle is steeped in royal British history dating back over 1,000 years and hosts a series of unique exhibitions and stunning gardens, not to mention the remarkable architecture of the castle itself. Why not take a casual stroll through the tranquil grounds and award-winning gardens before grabbing a spot of lunch at the onsite coffee shop. Enjoy a selection of afternoon tea treats in this fine example of British architectural heritage. The shop serves a delicious selection of sandwiches, scones and cakes befitting the kings and queens who previously inhabited this most regal of residences.

Beautiful lake view of the English Cotswolds

 

Cotswolds Water Park

The Cotswold Water Park covers a staggering 40 square miles, with 150 lakes. The park has a wealth of facilities providing numerous options, whether you want to relax or be active. There are a wide range of hotels, camp sites or holiday homes so you can find a place to stay, unload the car and explore this wonderful area. From fishing to water sports, paintballing to picnics there are plenty of options, so any time spent at Cotswolds Water Park is guaranteed to be time well spent.

Anne Hathaway’s Cottage

 

Anne Hathaway’s Cottage

Heading to the northern region of the Cotswolds, in Stratford Upon Avon, will take you to a picturesque yet understated feature of Shakespearian history; Anne Hathaway’s Cottage. Explore Hathaway’s family home where a young Shakespeare courted his future bride, and where romance blossomed for one of the most iconic romance writers in history. This site celebrates their love and is the perfect place for you and your partner to celebrate yours.

Bourton-on-the-Water

 

Bourton-on-the-Water

Bourton-on-the-Water is located between Cirencester and Stow on the Wold and provides an ideal spot for those looking for a peaceful,beautiful taste of English rural life. Park the car and amble along the river Windrush, which runs through this quaint village, being sure to cross any one of the marvellous stone bridges. In the summer sun, it provides a tremendous setting for a family picnic, and with its undeniable beauty it is no wonder that Bourton-on-the-Water is referred to as the Venice of the Cotswolds!

Enjoy any one or a number of these locations in the Cotswolds by hiring an Alamo Rent A Car, the perfect way to make the most of a truly splendid area of outstanding natural beauty.