10 July 2009

May/June 2009: Boston, New York and Canada (Ontario, Quebec)

During the summer this year I had six weeks off to go and enjoy myself in the US and Canada. The first thing on my agenda was seeing my brother, sister-in-law and two nephews and niece in Boston, then I took a train down to New York for some serious fun (i.e. sightseeing and shopping), and then I joined up with a TrekAmerica trip that went to Niagara, Ontario, Quebec and back down to Maine. And here is a little of what I got up to...not everything of course, as that would be telling..... :)

The reason for going to Boston was two-fold...to see my brother, sister-in-law, nephews and niece, and to also have a look around Boston. My brother Geoff and his family live about 40mins outside of Boston but very near to Plum Island which has some very nice beaches. They also live close to Newberryport which is very idyllic...similar feel to English seaside villages. I loved catching up with my nephews and niece and to experience living in a house with 3 kids under the age of 9!

Boston is a lovely city...quite condense and lots of things to do. I would really recommend the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Faneuil Hall Marketplace, going out to Harvard University campus (I was there the day after graduation so it was pretty dead), and the Bunker Hill monument. I have to admit, I even have a photo of me standing outside the bar Cheers!

New York
After spending a week in Boston I caught the train down to New York. I was staying in a hostel called Village Inn and it was situated in Greenwich/East Village part of NY. I was basically in the middle of Manhatten so I could either head up to Times Square area or down to Statue of Liberty.

Walking NY is extremely tiring...the first day I must have been walking for at least 8 hours straight and then gradually less and less as I saw more and more. Luckily the weather was on my side and didn't get rained on at all. I really recommend the following things in NY:

  • Seeing Statue of Liberty up close and personal (if you want to actually go into the statue you need to get a free pass BEFORE heading out on the boat)
  • Going up the top of the Rockerfeller Building rather than the Empire State Building (this way you get to take photos of NY with the ES Building in the background)
  • World Trade Centre museum and guided walk (well worth taking as the guide is usually someone who was there on the day)
  • Natural History Museum (we have all seen 'A Night at the Museum')
  • Crossing Brooklyn Bridge (take the metro to Brooklyn and walk back as the view is much better)
  • Walking in Central Park
  • Guggenheimer Museum
  • Shopping on 5th Avenue (it has to be done)

Trip into Canada
The TrekAmerica camping trip 'Canadian Pioneer' was brilliant - a fantastic trip with great people (we only got rained on for two evenings - both times we decided to get other accommodation other than our tents!). There was a mixture of nationalities and everyone was a similar age...no one too old or too young! The first stop was Niagara Falls (US side) - it was exhilerating going out on the Maid in the Mist boat but well worth doing that to get a close up.

Then we headed into Canada. First on our agenda was Toronto (just another city) and then Algonquin NP. If was full of mossies and it was only spring. We all went on a canoe trip and after two people capsized we sent out a rescue party to go and get help as we were on an island in the middle of the lake and the wind was up which meant there were waves and strong currents. They capsized but managed to get a rescue boat out to us!

After that adventure we then headed to Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec. Ottawa felt like Wellington, NZ with its parliament, and Montreal and Quebec very French! I loved Montreal with its harbour, and cafes / restaurants (went to a restaurant called 'ONoir' where we had dinner in the pitch dark - very freaky but great fun). It is also home to Cirque du Soliel (I saw the latest show called 'Ovo'), and has gorgeous parks and amazing night life. I recommend Montral to everyone.

After spending a week in Canada (where we did see a moose or two, but no bears) we headed back out to the good ole US of A. We spent a day in Maine and the Acadia National Park where it rained for most of the time. We did get to cycle around for the day which really was good fun and very beautiful. Then we coasted down through Rhodes Island and then back to New York.

I spent another 5 days in NY seeing everything I didn't get around to (ie. Brooklyn Bridge, nearly seeing Obama in Times Square), then back to Boston for 4 days before heading back to London.

I loved every minute of the trip and would go back to New York again for sure. And of course I will have to visit my brother and his family again before my nephews and niece forget about me!

More photos...