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Coach Touring Eastern USA & Canada

12 December 2012

Travellers

Thinking about a dream vacation without all the headaches and legwork that typically come with planning? ....then think Globus touring.

My family and I recently experienced a 13 day coach tour through Eastern USA & Canada amongst the spectacular colours of fall. It was just awesome to be part of this organised coach tour, we didn’t have to think about where we wanted to go, what we wanted to see, where we would stay or how we would get around. Our very professional tour director had every answer to every question imaginable, plus shared the most amazing facts along the way.

Our tour began with three nights in Boston where we stayed at the beautiful Boston Park Plaza. From the moment we arrived at the hotel located near Boston’s prestigious Back Bay, we were captivated by the grand architecture, striking lobby & elegant décor including eight restaurants and lounges inside the hotel. When this hotel opened in 1927, it claimed one of the city’s most coveted locations to this day – just three miles from Logan International Airport, and within 200 yards of America’s oldest public park, The Boston Common, and many inspirational Boston Landmarks and Monuments. We chose to eat out at nearby restaurants such as Flemings Steakhouse, which serves the most amazing aged prime beef steak and NZ lamb cutlets; McCormick and Schmick, a steak and seafood restaurant known widely for its fresh seafood and shellfish to its aged steaks; and the popular PF Chang China Bistro.

Day 3 Quebec City - Our journey enroute to Quebec City had a stop at Franconia Notch State Park, New Hampshire, in the scenicWendy & Steve Smith USA in Fall White Mountains. It was while here we experienced snow and sleet, an unexpected temperature change we hadn’t packed for. This park is home to Cannon Mountain, a popular state-owned ski resort started in the 1930s, and the mountain being named for a rock formation in the shape of a cannon found on the summit, but is now more famous for the "Old Man of the Mountain" formation after the original collapsed in 2003. We stopped to enjoy two nights in the historic Old Town of Quebec, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the only city in North America (outside Mexico and the Caribbean) with its original city walls. One of Quebec City’s most famous landmarks, Hotel Frontenac, which stands impressively above the Old Town overlooking the St Lawrence River, has 618 beautifully furnished guestrooms and suites all offering breathtaking views of the St. Lawrence River or the architecture of Old Quebec City.

Day 5 Montreal - Canada’s second largest city, home to Notre Dame Basilica and the huge underground area of Place Ville- Marie. The location of Place Ville Marie was originally a vast railway underground system, but now, along with an underground shopping mall, forms the nexus of Montreal's Underground City - the world's largest - with indoor access to over 1,600 shops, restaurants, offices and businesses, as well several metro stations in Montreal, a suburban transportation terminal, and tunnels extending all over downtown. A rotating beacon on the rooftop lights up at night, illuminating the surrounding sky with up to four white horizontal beams that can be seen as far as 50 kilometres away. Dinner this night was in a restored 17th century flour mill on the Ile d’Orleans (Island Of Orleans). Located in the St Lawrence River, just five kilometres from downtown Quebec city, this island was one of the first parts of the province to be colonized by the French, and where a large percentage of French Canadians trace their ancestry to early residents of the island. It’s of a irregular form with jagged coves and capes, 34 kilomtres long and eight kilometres wide at the widest point and just 75 kilometres in circumference, with a total surface area of 190 square kilometres.

Day 6 Ottawa - Canada’s capital city and home to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Stables. The RCMP is unique in the world since it is a national, federal, provincial and municipal policing body. They provide a total federal policing service to all Canadians and policing services under contract to the three territories, eight provinces (except Ontario and Quebec), more than 190 municipalities, 184 Aboriginal communities and three international airports.

Day 7 Toronto - Canada’s largest city and home to the CN Tower. In 1995 the CN Tower was classified as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers. The CN Tower shares this designation with the Itaipu Dam on the Horse Shoe FallsBrazil/Paraguay border, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, the Panama Canal, the Chunnel under the English Channel, the North Sea Protection Works off the European coast, and the Empire State Building. At 553.33 metres (1,815 ft, 5 inches), it is the world’s tallest tower, defined by both Guinness World Records and the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat as “a building in which less than 50% of the construction is usable floor space”. The “360 Restaurant” is at a height of 351 metres (114 building stories high) and takes 72 seconds to complete its revolution. This impressive tower cost $63 million to build over a 40 month period.

Day 9 Niagara Falls - without a doubt, one of the biggest highlights of our trip was Niagara Falls City in the Golden Horseshoe region of Southern Ontario. From Clifton Hill, Niagara, you can be entertained in the many game & fun parlours, theme rides, ghost houses, Ripleys Believe it Or Not House, and fast food joints, and a 175 foot high Niagara Sky Wheel. We took the opportunity to see the Falls from a magnificent 30 minute helicopter ride and an historical ride aboard the world-famous Maid of the Mist, a half hour thrill of a lifetime! It was so funny to be standing around with what looked like a boat full of “ Blue Bottle Jellyfish“ flapping around in the wind and spray. This is North America's oldest tourist attraction, where millions of visitors have enjoyed these boat tours since 1846.

Day 10 Lancaster - Our introduction to the world of the Amish. The drive to Lancaster, PA, took us through the Appalachian Mountains where the colours of fall were again spectacular. The Appalachians first formed roughly 480 million years ago and once reached elevations similar to those of the Alps and the Rocky Mountains before they were eroded. Getting closer to Lancaster gave us the opportunity to “Amish Spot “, horse and buggy and scooter modes of transport, and pick out the Amish family farms. As we came to learn, the Amish are known for their simple living, plain dress and reluctance to adopt many conveniences of modern technology, and after being hosted by an awesome family and served a typical dinner, a lot of rumours and "half-wisdom" about the Amish people have well and truly been cleared up. They just enjoy a slower, simple way of life, and it seemed that when this coach full of tourists left the following morning we also may have been quietly wishing for a little bit more of this lifestyle ourselves.

Day 11 Washington - Arlington National Cemetery .... Wow! - the final resting place for more than 400,000 active duty serviceArlington Cemetery members, veterans and their families along with Jacquie Kennedy Onassis and John F Kennedy, one of the two U.S. Presidents buried at Arlington National Cemetery. The other, William Howard Taft. The grounds cover an impressive 624 acres of manicured and landscaped rolling green hills along with the Tomb of the Unknowns. We also visited the Vietnam, Korean and World War ll Memorials and the Lincoln Memorial. Other amazing places that filled in our day were the many museums of The Smithsonian Institute and the glorious Basilica of the Immaculate Conception.

Day 13 New York - Sex and the City … blaring taxi horns … skyscapers .... Brooklyn, The Bronx, Manhattan, Staten Island, Broadway. There is only one New York City – but there is no one New York City, no matter what your interests are, you can divulge them here. Sadly we were homeward bound from here with no time to really explore this amazing city. As a family we had the trip of a lifetime – Globus Touring is definitely a fantastic option to consider. For more information on coach touring, or any other travel plans, see McIntosh Travel World Travellers, for unbiased advice, expertise and experience, plus we are now an AA Smartfuel retailer so swipe your card and save on your fuel.

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