Heading south, we left the glorious countryside of Canada behind to fly to Boston to pick up our hire car. Once again, here are some of the highlights of our trip, as we begin the trek homeward to Australia.
# New England
One of the great joys of this area is that everything is so close. By car, it was easy to drive along the ancient Mohawk Trail and nip up into New Hampshire and Vermont – all in the course of a few hours. Glorious autumn colours were everywhere.
Our first night was spent in a wonderful B&B – The Birds’ Nest – built back in the 1700s, in the small rural community of Buckland, Massachusetts. A real home away from home!
Next day, we ventured into New York State and followed the Hudson River, a broad brown river, down to the Catskill Mountains before turning east towards the small town of Norfolk in north west Connecticut. The Manor House, our accommodation for the night, was another real gem. Built in the late 1800s, the house was once a mansion for wealthy New Yorkers escaping the close heat of New York summers. The sweeping stairway, wooden panelling and Tiffany windows sent us back in time. The town also boasted some great eateries and our night at the Wood Creek Pub was memorable, owing to the warm welcome from friendly locals.
Boston was a cool place to visit with its Freedom Trail and the great pedestrian areas around Faneuill Place and Quincy Market. The place comes alive at night and is so pretty with the many trees decorated with festive fairy lights.
Our dinner at the the Union Oyster House was fascinating, given the building’s extraordinary history as the oldest restaurant still operating in the USA. During his exile in 1796, a Frenchman lived on its second floor and earned his keep by offering French lessons to the well-to-do ladies of Boston. Later, Louis Philippe served as France’s king from 1830 to 1848.
To get from Boston to New York, we took a relaxing three hour express train which skirted the curving coastline of Connecticut and Rhode Island.
# New York City
Wow! What a fantastic city! Our home for the next five nights was the Colonial Inn in Chelsea – a comfortable B&B set in a tree-lined street in a fine central location. Here, we met our son and his partner who had flown in from London.
* The Empire State Building. Who knew the queues would be so long or so orderly? An enormous treat for any fans of Art Deco architecture. And of course, the views are gob-smackingly gorgeous. Worth the wait!
* A Sunset River Cruise – on a glorious clear night with a full moon rising through the city skyline and our first view of the grand madame – the Statue of Liberty. I expected to feel quite blase and was taken aback at the unexpected emotion of seeing this iconic statue, her copper-green gown alight against the glowing red of the night sky.
* A visit to the Chelsea Market
* Exploring the different districts of New York like the vibrant Lower East side and discovering a restaurant which only served meatballs of every conceivable variety. Terrific fun as well! The Meat Packing District at night! Wandering through Greenwich Village and finding a Cafe with out-of-this world mini cupcakes, then chatting with the gracious staff at Jimmy Choo’s Shoes who knew we could only afford to look and salivate.
* Times Square and the nearby St Andrews Whisky Bar – essential research for any dedicated Scotophile..
* The Zodiac designs on the ceiling of Grand Central Station especially at 1 am when the crowds are gone.
* A day spent at the Metropolitan Museum and later wandering in Central Park, followed by dinner at La Bonne Soupe, an atmospheric French restaurant.
* Looking for that exclusive bargain at Century 21
* Sunset drinks at the extraordinary rooftop bar of 230 5th Ave, wearing their signature red gowns to ward off the chill winds and watching the city lights come on. The sight of the Empire State Building at night is thrilling.
* Wandering the streets and coming upon Little Eaterly -a huge restaurant, come deli, come shop, heaving with noisy happy patrons
I was so surprised by New York. i expected it to be noisy and dirty and edgy to the point of being unsafe. Noisy it definitely was with sirens and horns blaring constantly but it was clean and functional and chic. We also felt quite safe and the many family groups out on the streets added to this impression.
Walking every where, taking the yellow cabs when we needed to get places to make the most our brief time, checking out the cafes and bars, the community feel of the districts, people out walking their dogs of all shapes and sizes – these are the things I will remember and cherish about New York and most of all, the opportunity to spend precious time with our son and his partner.
Now we head home to Australia, after a truly extraordinary holiday across Canada and eastern USA. The wallet may be lighter but the heart and soul are brimming with joyful memories. Thanks for sharing this epic journey with us.