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Travel Experience – Eastern USA & Canada

DISCOVERING EASTERN USA & CANADA

By Tour Group Member, Elva Cashin

In May I joined Jacquey for my sixth wonderful trip, this time to Eastern America and Canada.

After an early transfer from Warragul, we flew via Los Angeles to Toronto for three nights. We all enjoyed our first exciting day at Niagara Falls taking lots of photos, walking along the side walk, going behind the falls then boarding the Hornblower Niagara Cruise for a spectacular cruise below the falls. Lunch in the Sheraton Hotel overlooking Niagara Falls topped the day off perfectly. While in Toronto, we visited the Casa Loma Castle, lunched on top of CN Towers, drove around the University, Parliament Buildings, City Hall, Museums and Skydome, and walked around the underground Eaton Centre shopping complex, finally finding our way up an escalator into our hotel.

Next was a short flight to Philadelphia where we met Bill, our American guide. There we visited Independence Hall where they signed the Declaration of Independence and drafted the Constitution of America, saw the Liberty Bell, visited the National Constitution Centre, walked around the many murals depicting the progress of the country and experienced a horse and carriage ride around the many attractions of the city.

    

Over the next few days we travelled through Lancaster County visiting Amish and Mennonite communities. We called on Amish farmers markets, craft stores and farms, and lunched in an Amish house experiencing their simple way of life with no electricity or phones and ploughing their land with horses.

It was onto Gettysburg visiting the National Military Park where an excellent guide explained the Civil Wars. The museum had a most impressive Cyclorama exhibition.

We moved on to Washington DC for a great two days exploring the capital including Lincoln Memorial, Martin Luther King Memorial, Jefferson and Washington Monuments, the Korean War, Vietnam Veterans and National World War 11 Memorials and, of course, the White House, which was around the corner from our beautiful Willard Hotel.

The next day was a trip to Mount Vernon, the estate of George Washington, a visit to the Arlington Cemetery with the Kennedy Memorials then back to the city for free time to visit the Smithsonian's many museums.

Our train journey from Washington to New York was most relaxing before our hectic two days in New York. We were most impressed with our hotel with its breakfast room overlooking fabulous Times Square. We went to the top of the Rockefeller Building with 360 degree views of New York City, spent the morning at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, a very emotional sight, and had a 3-mile cruise around Manhattan Island past the Statue of Liberty and the huge city buildings and bridges. Most went to live shows on Broadway, some walked the High Line, and we visited Newseum and Radio City Music Hall and had a horse and carriage ride around Central Park and finished with a delicious meal in the fabulous Russian Tea Rooms.

        

We moved on to Long Island through the Hampton villages and across to New London where we met Jacquey's friends Steve and Jodie. Steve took us to Fort Griswold Historical Nautilus Submarine Museum, the first nuclear powered vessel, which we boarded for a most interesting tour. Dinner was at the Seafood Restaurant where we grappled with a whole lobster, what fun!    

Next we travelled north into scenic Vermont, staying at Basin Harbour beside Lake Champlain. We visited Shelburne Heritage Park, a fabulous museum of 150,000 exhibitions. It was then over to Stowe where we stayed at the historical mountain resort the Trapp Family Lodge and met Kristina, a descendant of the Von Trappe family. We had numerous walks visiting waterfalls, lakes and a Maple Syrup Farm, plus Jacquey's favourite spot Ben & Jerry's ice cream factory!

We travelled across the mountains to Mt Washington Resort where we caught a small bus to Mt Washington 6,288 feet above sea level, the highest mountain in north east America. In 1934, wind gusts of 231 miles per hour were the highest ever recorded.

    

Next stop was Boston where we explored Harvard University, had a tour with a difference on the ‘Duck’, a WW 11 style amphibious landing vehicle, with a hilarious driver/guide, and walked the Freedom Trail through this amazing city.

It was then time to board the MS Veendam for our 7-day cruise, calling at some amazing ports: Bar Harbour, Halifax, Sydney and Charlottetown on Prince Edward Island, my favourite island. We enjoyed the beautiful country scenery, a visit to the home of Anne of Green Gables, a crayfish village and took photos of the famous Confederation Bridge spanning 12.9 kilometres across the water to New Brunswick.

    

Our last stops were Quebec and Montreal before disembarking. In Quebec, a UNESCO city, Jacquey had organised a horse and carriage ride, a great way to see the Upper Old Town. In Montreal, we had a morning bus trip around the city before boarding a plane for an overnight stay in Los Angeles. We walked along Sunset Boulevard and down Rodeo Drive, the exclusive shopping street, then drove to Hollywood Boulevard where we walked the steps of Dolby Theatre, the home of Academy Awards, down the Walk of Fame, then past the TCL Chinese Theatre, famous for celebrity hand and foot prints.

We had our farewell luncheon in the hotel courtyard, then some last minute shopping and a rest before catching our plane home.

Thank you, Jacquey, for another fabulous and well-organised trip with first class accommodation and guidance throughout the tour.