THE BEST WAY
From LAX to Boston, nonstop service is offered on American, JetBlue, Virgin America, and United, and connecting service (change of planes) is offered on AirTran, United, US Airways, American, Southwest and Delta. Restricted round-trip fares begin at $498.
From LAX to Philadelphia, nonstop service is offer on US Airways and United, direct service (stop, no change of plane) on Southwest and connecting service (change of plane) on US Airways, Southwest, United, Delta, Continental and American. Restricted round-trip fares begin at $328.
From LAX to New York's JFK, nonstop service is offered on American, United, Delta, JetBlue, and Virgin America. Restricted round-trip fares begin at $438.
From Boston to Philadelphia, discounted advance purchase fares start at $59, http://www.amtrak.com.
From Philadelphia to New York (Penn Station), the lowest fare starts at $1 plus a 50-cent service charge.
WHERE TO STAY
In the Boston area
Harding House, 288 Harvard St., Cambridge, Mass.; (877) 489-2888, http://www.cambridgeinns.com/harding. A charming 14-room eco-friendly B&B in Cambridge. Queen/private bath starts at $180 in summer.
Alexander Inn, 12th and Spruce streets Philadelphia; (877) ALEX-INN (253-9466), http://www.alexanderinn.com. A 48-room B&B-style inn conveniently located in Center City, Philadelphia. Deluxe comfort rooms start at $129.
In New York
Airbnb.com for renting a private room or an entire home. My private room and bath was one block from Riverside Park (West Side Retreat), $135 per night. Other New York listings include entire homes or apartments.
The Pod Hotel, 230 E. 51st St., New York; (866) 454-0586, http://www.podhotel.com. This hip makeover of the former Pickwick Arms has about 300 rooms with flat-screen TVs. Doubles start at $139.
WHERE TO EAT
Woodward, Ames Hotel, 1 Court St.; (617) 979-8200, http://www.woodwardatames.com. Upscale tavern featuring a regional-ingredient driven menu. Dinner entrees up to $37.
City Tavern, 138 S. 2nd St. at Walnut St.; (215) 413-1443, http://www.citytavern.com. In 1774, John Adams called this "the most genteel tavern in America." Dinner entrees up to $33.
Ducks (see Spin below for location), (212) 982-8802; http://www.spinyc.com/ducks.php. Salads, sandwiches and snacks from $5-$13.
TO LEARN MORE
Boston visitor info: http://www.bostonusa.com
Philadelphia visitor info: http://www.visitphilly.com and http://www.uwishunu.com
Valley Forge visitor info: http://www.valleyforge.org
New York visitor info: http://www.nycgo.com