American history, as it dates back to the colonial period, is at its most apparent in the eastern part of the country. Traditions run deep, whether people are quaffing beer at an 18th-century pub or traveling along historical rail arteries. But essential to the East’s character is a capacity for change that allows a modern Korean spa to coexist alongside an ornate hotel that served as a meeting place for literary luminaries. Although our choices for the most essential products and services in the East are a sort of nexus of times and tastes, the bracket will definitively determine which is the Best of Groupon.
Round One Wrap-Up
Do east-coasters prefer mineral springs to springs (okay, drafts) of beer? How about oak-leaf scrubs versus artisanal donuts? The results are in, and health has edged out hedonism (for now, anyway) with but one notable exception—Al Pacino-approved meatballs. But the next round will pit these savory orbs against the mineral pools of the Alleghenies, and show us how the region prefers to travel: around the globe in 150 international beers, or b-b-back in time to a 1980s–themed escape room. Stay tuned for the results.
Read about the most Groupon experiences in the East:
1. Tour the world from a barstool in New York City, NY
Killmeyer’s Old Bavaria Inn
If the size of Killmeyer’s beer menu isn’t impressive enough—28 drafts and 100 bottles—the scope of it should do the trick. Joining beers from familiar brewing locales like Belgium and England are myriad craft and rare beers from Italy, Scotland, Spain, and Denmark.
2. Dine on the fruits of the local farmland in Souderton, PA
How The Local’s “bullseye theory” works: the restaurant is the center point of a circle with a radius of 20 miles; ingredients from farms within the circle = locally grown. With this concept serving as the kitchen’s guiding principle, the math works out on meals from poached eggs with petite beef loin to country-fried steak: distance traveled = short, thus the meal = fresh.
3. Eat a Delmonico steak at its birthplace in New York City, NY
The original Pompeian pillars still greet you at the entrance of Delmonico’s, which opened in 1837 and lays claim to creating eggs benedict and Delmonico steak. The latter is best experienced amid the opulent chandeliers, dramatic curtains, and 19th-century ambiance where it was first conceived.
4. Have a pint in a 227-year-old pub in Foxboro, MA
The Lafayette House
Founded in 1784, The Lafayette House is about as close to the 18th century as you can get with a drink. The steak house’s rustic-swanky interior, which includes fireplaces and wood paneling, is a prime spot for hearty food and freshly mixed drinks.
5. Get your back swept with an oak-leaf broom in New York City, NY
Russian & Turkish Baths
In the Russian Room, rock slabs that bake overnight give off an intense, steamy heat. To supplement this Old-World detox method, platza specialists beat the skin of willing participants with an oak-leaf broom soaked with astringent olive-oil soap. Once you’re thoroughly thrashed—and exfoliated—venture to the roof deck to air out your wide-open pores.
6. Kick back in a Himalayan-salt cave in Bethesda, MD
Bethesda Salt Cave
Lined in salt crystals imported from the Himalayas, the cave is believed by some to have healing benefits. But whether you’re there for cleansing or curiosity, sitting quietly in a zero-gravity chair surrounded by 250-million-year-old crystals isn’t a bad way to spend a Saturday.
7. Get an aromatherapy foot rub in Salem, MA
Beijing Herbal Foot Spa
Kick off your shoes, peel off your socks, and let your feet soak in an herb-infused footbath while a therapist works the pressure points in your face, neck, and shoulders. The rest of the hour is devoted to reflexology, which eases aches in the feet and is said to benefit the rest of the body.
8. Take a Moroccan soak in McLean, VA
Warmed marble benches greet your tired body in each dimly lit private bath. Once warmed and receptive, the skin is treated with a medley of natural black soaps, exfoliants, and Moroccan Rhassoul clay. A honey and lavender-oil lather turns weariness into a distant memory.
9. Get a Bade Pool massage in Centreville, VA
Spa World USA
When stress feels like it’s reached inhuman levels, a human massage might not cut it. Enter the bade—literally. Undergo the massage-specific pool’s eight-step process: begin with a jet-pressured dream bath, cycle through multi-angled hydro-jets and falling-steam neck baths, and conclude with a float and supersonic bubble jet.
10. Sample sweets in the heart of history in Boston, MA
Boston Omni Parker House Hotel
Follow the Freedom Trail to this famous hotel and join the ranks of past patrons like Emerson, Thoreau, and Babe Ruth. Built in 1885, the hotel has retained its plush grandeur from the ornate lobby to Parker’s Restaurant, which is the purported birthplace of the distinctly cake-like Boston cream pie. Have a piece and decide for yourself.
11. Take a turn around a gourmet food court in New York City, NY
City Kitchen at The Row NYC
Forget the food court—this indoor market brings trendy chefs and global cuisines into a shared space in Times Square. Located in The Row NYC hotel, City Kitchen features Kuro-Obi ramen, blue-cheese fries from Whitmans, and Dough donuts in an open-market setup with suspended edison bulbs and exposed brick that distinguish it from the mall standard.
12. Try famous meatballs to a rollicking soundtrack in Atlantic City, NJ
Martorano’s at Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City
Ever wanted to hear Sinatra segue into slow jams and then morph into Biggie while eating meatballs that Al Pacino allegedly dubbed the best on earth? No fever dream needed—instead, check out Martorano’s, where Italian food gets an AC bump in the form of choreographed lighting and playlists that evolve from Rat Pack to disco and hip-hop through the night.
13. Soak in mineral pools in Bedford, PA
Omni Bedford Springs Resort
Since 1806, this National Historic Landmark has rejuvenated guests with natural mineral water from the Allegheny Mountains. Massaging jets boost the relaxation experience in the resort’s eight hot and cold mineral pools.
14. Photograph Horseshoe Falls from your hotel room in Niagara Falls, NY
Four Points by Sheraton Niagara Falls
Guests from this hotel can easily walk the distance between its lobby and the roaring Horseshoe Falls. Plus, all rooms either look out on the falls or the bustling downtown.
15. Enter—and then flee—the neon decade in Philadelphia, PA
Escape the 1980s
The Goonies, Mr. T, Max Headroom, and other 1980s icons become the characters in this room-escape game. Players are trapped in the '80s and must figure out visual and musical clues to escape within an hour.
16. Rail-travel through time in New Hope, PA
New Hope & Ivyland Railroad
The beautiful landscape is easily the least interesting thing you’ll see on this historical train ride. The restored 1920s train is the true scenery. As the authentic steam locomotive roars along the original route, at least try to take a look at the hills and valleys on the other side of the antique bar car’s windows.