We have long travelled en masse when heading off on our Summer holidays; it never mattered where we were heading~even though the kids were getting ever bigger, we always seemed to head off together. We still do, but not so far or for so long these days.
It had been on an impulse when I booked flights to Boston a few years ago; I’d wanted to visit family in Connecticut and we’d usually flown into New York when we did, but the price of the flights to Boston swung it for us. We figured that we’d fly into Boston and check the place out for a few days~we’d been but it was years earlier and felt it would be great to see how much had been done with the Big Dig. There was so much that we didn’t recognise so we hung around for a few extra days exploring the place; doing the usual tourist stuff on a Duck Tour~not to be sniffed at, and watching the Humpback Whales off the Massachusetts coast~that was certainly more than we bargained for, but nothing to do with the whales. That’s a whole ‘nother story.
We stayed with the guys at the Omni Parker House and had a great time; it looks incredibly smart on the website, but we loved the fact that Charles Dickens had stayed here, and that JFK had proposed to Jackie in the dining room. It had, and I’m guessing it still has a sense of history about it.
Boston is a fun and lively city with loads to entertain you no matter your age; there are the Duck Tours on amphibious vehicles for the kids and Shakespeare on the Common for culture buffs, and I notice this year there will be around 50 tall ships in the harbour in June.
The big plan was to hire a mini-van and head over the border to Toronto to see Niagara Falls from the best side. But that didn’t happen. The rental companies wouldn’t let us take the car out of America as there had been problems, with vehicles being stolen or packed with drugs… Plan B came into force. We decided to do a road trip; no real idea where we were going but we were off to explore New England. How hard could that be? First, New England covers an awful lot of the country; in the scale of things, probably not that much, but when you weigh it up against the UK it is vast and unending. And when you don’t know where you’re headed in the first place… it’s not always what it’s cracked up to be! A road trip sounds like fun but when you’re looking to lay your head somewhere for the night and everywhere (and I mean everywhere, massive, huge citadels to vacationing) booked up, it becomes a bit more stressful. And people everywhere. New Conway was a serious eye-opener; we’re English and we’d never brushed against so many Americans at play before.
We stayed a couple of days getting on a trip up Mt Washington and negotiating Hell Fire Corner with hearts in our mouths only to be blown horizontally at the top, and rattling off a few rounds of floodlit crazy golf but it was the girl on reception that suggested we may prefer Maine.
We did; it was the complete opposite of New Hampshire. It was slow and easy and outdoorsy, and we found our way to Bar Harbor and the Acadia National Park. We stopped in a guest house in one of the old Summer retreats that had belonged to the wealthy of Boston; a step back in time with a veranda, tea at four o’clock and four poster beds. That is one of the joys of not planning ahead; it probably wasn’t the smartest but it had huge character. Added a link here, and man they’ve altered this place since we stayed here!
The Acadia National Park is a vast natural space to explore by foot or car or by cycle, the latter being readily available to hire, and there is a free shuttle bus that can take you and your bike anywhere around the park.
Little did we realise when we were in Boston that a ferry runs from there not only to Bar Harbor but also on to Halifax, Nova Scotia, so we could have made it into Canada after all~not to Niagara though! The cruise ships also dock here too, which feels pretty bizarre, especially if you head out on the tall ship that sails from the town.
Whilst we’re on about trips on the water, we might as well add that you can take a kayaking tour if you’re feeling adventurous. We did book one but it was thunder and lightning at the time; we’d been warned that we’d still go out if it was raining but when the electricity started to zip around the sky, the trip was pulled, so we never did find out how much fun we could have had…
We would have stayed longer but we had relatives to visit… but that wasn’t all bad as we squeezed in a few days in New York city. And we still haven’t seen Niagara Falls!
About The Author
Janette Plain is the Founder & Owner of Global Grapevine
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