Well here we are! Remember back in April that we celebrated Ann Marie's 50th birthday? Now it's time for the real celebration. We've been planning for months a few days in New York then a seven day cruise Canada New England. We left August 1.
The flights were great - even though they were in the middle of the night on the "Red Eye". Cathay Pacific is a good airline. Because it was an international flight, dinner was offered free of charge. Coming home the air was perfectly clear - you could see every light from every little town. You could even see Estevan Saskatchewan where Larry grew up.
The weather was fantastic - hot (in the 90's) and humid. Larry had found a three bedroom/two bathroom condo on W 53rd between 8th and 9th. He had a scooter delivered to the condo. The first day we purchased a 48 hour hop on/hop off bus package which included a free circle cruise and admission into the Empire State Building. Definitely the best deal in order to see everything. We used the bus the next two days. The second day we got off at Canal Street and walked to what's left of Little Italy for lunch.
Wednesday we had tickets to the Yankees/Blue Jays game at 1 pm in the afternoon. We took the New York subway for the first time. The stop was just a short walk from where we were staying and took us right to Yankee Stadium. We were privileged to be a part of history seeing Alex Rodriguez hit his 6ooth home run. He is the youngest player in MLB history to hit 600 home runs. The heat was oppressive. What a beautiful new stadium. Yankees fans are very loyal. Larry and I had foot long hot dogs for lunch.
The next day we walked (and Larry drove on his scooter) all day. We went up the Empire State Building and with Larry's scooter they took us through the handicap lane right to the front of the line. We also did a tour through Madison Square Gardens. It is particularly fascinating because the ice arena that the New York Yankees play on is on Level 6. Below that is a concert hall and Penn Station, one of the busiest train stations in the United States. We also decided to visit the Museum of Sex which was interesting. We ended up fairly close to our condo and met the woman we had rented from, (Nicole - NYExec.com) and her fiance for drinks. By that time the first yard-long tube of beer was gone, which was such a short time we had to have a second. It tasted so good, and went down like water!
Our final day in New York we took the boat tour that was included with our bus pass. It's interesting to see the city from a different view. We also saw the spot where Sully landed the plane in the Hudson. Because there are so many boats all the time, there were people on scene almost immediately. The cruise tour boats, including the one we were on, were used to transport the passengers from the plane to shore.
On August 7 we boarded the Caribbean Princess for our cruise. Another beautiful day.
Check-in was effortless and we were soon unpacking in our rooms. We had a beautiful view from our balcony - we were at the very back of the ship for the first time and we had a great 180 view of where we'd been! Our muster station was just a couple of flights directly down from our room so the Emergency Drill was quite easy too.
We arrived in Newport, Rhode Island at 7 am. This is a tender stop, meaning they use the largest lifeboats to take us all ashore for the day (we were scheduled to leave at 3:30 pm). Newport is a very busy harbour for sailboats and yachts. Rhode Island is the smallest of the American states and is one of the original 13. Newport was the base for the America's Cup Yacht Race from 1930 to about 1980. Larry and Maureen went ashore and walked up and down the main street. We found the White Horse Tavern and were there when the doors opened. The White Horse Tavern is the oldest operating tavern in the United States, with its liquor license acquired in 1673. The old part of the tavern is low-ceilinged and seats 18. The rest of it is a restaurant. The bartender, Dave, was full of information and served us what turned out to be the best chowder of our trip. He also sent us to see Paul, in Boston. There were many little sailboats racing in the harbour as we waited for the ship to sail. As we were leaving we went past the jazz festival which was just beginning its week.
We arrived in Boston Massechusetts on Monday August 9 at 10 am. It seems in all the harbours there are battlements built for protection when they were first discovered. Larry and Maureen took the shuttle to Quincy Market in downtown Boston. Boston, while a big city, is nowhere near as "tall" as New York. It's much quieter and cleaner. We talked to some people at the market about where to find Paul at the Grafton Street pub in Cambridge. They directed us to the subway - up a rather large flight of stairs. Keep in mind it was still very hot and humid. We took the subway to Harvard. Maureen found it to feel very historic and would have liked to spend more time there. We found the pub and said hello to Paul. We had clam chowder for lunch. Then we took the subway back to Quincy Market and walked through it. We saw Cheers along the way. We then caught the shuttle back to the ship and we set sail about 6:30 pm.
August 10 we arrived in Bar Harbor Maine a beautiful little spot. We also tendered ashore here. We wandered around the town a little bit - lots of t-shirt shops and souvenirs. We then found the trolley that took us up Cadillac Mountain, the only mountain they have. We looked for, and found, a few wild blueberries. The trolley driver was very knowledgeable. We also asked about campgrounds for future. We stopped for a late lunch - our first lobster rolls. Mmmm! The lobster is so sweet. The last tender went to the ship at 5:30 and we left shortly after that.
August 11 we arrived in Saint John at 8 am. Maureen had dropped the camera while at Harvard (it worked sporadically for awhile then quit altogether) so we decided we needed to buy another camera. Kelly had let us know from home that there was a new Costco in Saint John so when we got off the ship we went right to a taxi stand. A lady named Charlene took us - she'd never, ever intended to go to Costco but she came in with us while we bought a new camera. We were early so she drove us around a bit, telling us about the Irving family who owns just about every big business in Saint John. One thing led to another and she told us she had a tour company "Cabbin' it in Saint John with Char" and charged $50 an hour to take people around. We ended up being with her for five hours (she charged us for four). She talked pretty much non-stop the whole time. She really knew her stuff. She is always researching and updating her knowledge. At St. Martins we had our second lobster roll - this was the best overall it turns out. It was really fun and combined a number of shore excursions we could have taken from the ship. She also took us to see a few campgrounds where we were able to stop and check out rates. Char is on Facebook and we exchanged e-mail addresses, in case she ever comes to Vancouver.
August 12 we arrived in Halifax, our farthest point north. Here the four of us rented a car and headed for Peggy's Cove about an hour away. It's a beautiful spot as you can see. We had our third lobster roll nearby. We stopped at the memorial for the flight from Lockerbie Scotland. Then we headed back into town. We drove around the Citadel and ended up at the Alexander Keith's brewery. They have a humorous musical tour of the old brewery. It's no longer a working brewery but you get the idea. Plus there were two pints as samples included in the tour!
We spent the day of August 13 at sea heading back to New York. One of our favourite things to do is people watch. The Piazza on the ship is a good place for that. We also spent some time playing with the new camera. And of course eating!
Disembarkation on August 14 went well. Our flight home was not until 10:40 pm so we had a day to kill. We had booked a room at the Best Western Coney Island so the four of us would have somewhere to freshen up and store our luggage for the day. Then we took a cab to Coney Island. It was very interesting - a great people watching venue. We had a hot dog from the World Famous Nathan's. Then we went to the circus for two hours - the Barnum & Bailey and Ringling Bros. circus. Great entertainment for $15. Some very good acts in addition to the elephants and big cats. We then went back to the motel. Larry called a cab company on his cell. We ended up with a different one. None of their cabs are marked as cabs. It's a bit weird. We got this guy who spoke English at least - none of our other cabbies, except Char, spoke a word of English so the rides were quiet. He offered to come back and get us when we were ready to go to the airport. He was full of information - including the fact that at night Coney Island is one of the most dangerous places in Brooklyn as it is in the middle of the "Projects". The freaks come out at night, he said with guns, knives and everything else. We got to the airport with a few hours to spare. The flight was on time and very smooth. Aaron very kindly came and picked us up at 1:30 in the morning while Barry and Ann Marie planned to catch the 5:15 am ferry back to Nanaimo.
All in all a great trip! Larry and Maureen are already talking about what they've still left to see in New York.