Published: November 19th 2011October 2nd 2011
We covered a lot of highway on our road trip through New England and Quebec including the cities of Newport, RI; Hyanis, MA; Boston, MA; Salem, MA; Portland, ME, Quebec City, QC, Montreal, QC; and Southington, CT.
Day 1 - We picked up our rental car from JFK Airport and headed out of Long Island, up the New York state coastline. We stopped at Rye, NY, for a snack lunch and visited the local beach and park. Our next stop was the Mystic Seaport, CT, where we viewed the tall mast sailing ship and other nautical memorabilia. The driving portion of driving trips always takes longer than planned (but less than what Google Maps tells you). We arrived in Newport, RI at about 5pm with just enough daylight to really enjoy the Cliff Walk trail along the coastline in front of the famous Newport mansions. We travelled sandy paths, rocky paths, barely there paths, through tunnels and over bridges and as some amazing coastal views, snapshots of the lifestyles of the rich and famous, breakers and surfers. We arrived back at Bellevue St. just as it started to get dark and found our way back to the hidden free parking
spot we had found. We arrived at our traditional seaside hotel after dark and on the advice of the manager, headed down to Benjamin’s for a fantastic seafood dinner. We wandered the seaport and had a late night ice cream before turning in.
On Day 2, we drove around Newport before heading back on the road again to another seaside town of Hyannis, MA. This is the departure point to famous retreats such as Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. We had breakfast in town and I spent a couple hours on work while I had internet access. We wanted to see the rest of Cape Cod but we wouldn’t have made it to our pre-booked hotel in Maine. So we started towards Boston with a brief stop in Baintree to call in for a work conference call. We really enjoyed our day in Boston. On the advice of friends we took the Freedom Trail Tour which was operated by an American Revolution Masters student who was very passionate about the war and the historic sites including Boston Common, Massachusetts State House, the Granary Cemetery (where John Hancock, Samuel Adams and Paul Revere are buried), the site of the Boston Massacre
and Old State House. We finished the tour and continued on to Paul Revere’s House, the original site of the Green Dragon Pub, the Bell in Hand Pub (1794) and then on to Beacon Hill where some of the oldest houses in Boston are nestled along cobbled streets line Acorn St. We also stopped in at a local filming location for the Cheers Pub! We got back in the car and headed over to Harvard University to have a look around the campus, then we were off to Salem, MA. It was dark when we arrived but it made it all the more spooky for the historic location of the Salem Witch Trials. There was a lot to see even after hours including the Witch Trial Monument, museum, cemetery, park and souvenir shops. We had dinner at the Lobster Shanty – Lobster Mac & Cheese and Fried Scallops. We arrived in Portland, ME around midnight.
We didn’t sleep much as we had to be up early on Day 3 to start one of our longer driving days to Quebec City, QC. It was a fairly uneventful drive. We stopped for lunch in Flatland, ME at a local diner and
picked up some local arts and crafts. For any Canadians trying to visit Canada in a US rental car – DON’T. We had enquired with the rental car agency whether we could take the car to Quebec and they said ‘no problem’ but the Customs Border guards gave us the real info. Apparently 99% of the time you can not bring a car across the border for leisure and touring purposes unless you pay the tax on the car. However, the guards gave us special permission to go across the border, likely because we lived 4500 kilometres away in Vancouver, BC. We were lucky this time! (The border guards were also very friendly and treated us very well). We stopped at a fantastic waterfall at the Parc des chutes de la Chaudiere, just south of Quebec. We walked out over a pedestrian suspension bridge to get some great photos. When we arrived in Vieux Quebec, we found our hotel (Hotel Louisville) had reassigned us to Hotel Arcadia. The new hotel was good and we had no complaints but parking was an extra $20 (like all the big cities). We headed out into town and visited the famous Chateau Frontenac Hotel,
walked the windy boardwalk and had three fondue courses (cheese, beef broth and chocolate) at Le Creperie nearby.
We had planned for Day 4 to be our sightseeing day in Quebec. We visited the Citadel, the Plains of Abraham, the Plas de Youville, Upper Town and Lower Town. The history that has been retained in Vieux Quebec is amazing. We found that Montreal did not compare at all. The Quebec Parliament Buildings, the many dates to the inner fortifications, the Military Academy building and the Armoury were all maintained in the traditional styles. We had a great day in the sunshine before heading out to the countryside. We visited the beach, wineries and a Chocolaterie on the Ile d’Orleans. Next we visited the great waterfall at the Chute de Montmorency. After three more hours of driving, we arrived in Montreal in the late afternoon and drove around the former Olympic Site before finding out hostel (which was as good as any of the hotels we stayed in). We walked over to the lively Latin Quarter for dinner at an Italian restaurant and walked back along Rue Saint-Denis.
Our next two days (Day 5 and 6) were partially taken
up with a work project that I had to complete. During the afternoon, we visited Chinatown and had lunch, then walked around the historic area of Montréal including the Basilica of Notre Dame, Marché Bonsecours, City Hall, Place Jacques Cartier, the abandoned piers, the ruins of the Grey Nuns Hospital and some of the historic banks and buildings along the Rue de Jacques Cartier. We had dinner in our room (Take out Thai and Sushi) while I continued my work. The next day we caught the subway to the Cathedral of Notre Dame area where we visited Ann’s old school, church and house. Then we climbed up a hill to the Oratory of St. Joseph, which is a huge modern church. We were close to the park but I had to get back for final edits to we caught the subway back to the hotel. After I was all done my presentation (and ended up getting an extension), we decided to take the car out and have a drive around Montreal. We visited the Mont Royal Park and cemetery. We made friends with a family of racoons. Then we drove around Vieux Montreal and looked at the historic buildings all
The last day of our road trip (Day 7) led us back across the border (with no problems) to Vermont. Ann really wanted to drive the Route 100 Highway because of the leaf peeping opportunities. For those wondering, leaf peeping means to watch the leaves changing clour in Autumn – reds, oranges, yellow, browns. We were lucky that much of the road and bridges had been recently re-instated after the hurricanes. There was wide spread evidence of the bridge wash outs and sand deposits from the rivers over flowing their banks. But the trees looked great in their dazzling colours and we saw lots of waterfalls along the way (Glenn Moss waterfall, South Hedley waterfall, etc.). We arrived late into Southington, CT and had a fun dinner at the local sports restaurant.
We made it back to JFK airport in time to avoid surcharges, even with an impromptu drive-by the Brooklyn Zoo. We had one more day in New York, gallivanting around Central Park. After our long flight through LAX back to Seattle, we drove the couple hours back to cross the border at 11pm and arrive home. No unpacking but straight to bed to be
refreshed for work the next morning.
There are more photos below