Day 14 – So long, farewell…

Nothing interesting happened yesterday. We made our way from Harvard to New Jersey. I can now officially tell you that there’s nothing interesting in between the two. Not even a moose.

Today, we woke early, went back to bed for an hour, and finally got ourselves up and into New York City. We decided, since we only had one day in the city, and since Isabelle doesn’t really remember the last time we went, to do the downtown sightseeing bus. It worked for us because it filled the day nicely and got us to the two places Isabelle really wanted to see – the Statue of Liberty and Chinatown.

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We had a nice time on the bus at first, until it started raining. It rained for about an hour, and the free rain ponchos (yes, we now have another set!) helped but didn’t keep us completely dry. We decided to stay on the bus the first time around rather than walk around in the rain, and so we stopped for lunch just off Times Square, and then set off for our second tour – this time with two stops thrown in.

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We stopped at Battery Park, but instead of getting on the tourist ferry to Ellis Island and the Statue, we had decided to take the free option – the Staten Island Ferry. It doesn’t stop at the island, but then again, we didn’t have tickets to get into the statue base anyway. It gave us lovely views of the city and of Lady Liberty.

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After we got off the ferry, we hopped into a cab (an experience there!) and went over to Chinatown. We had a great time looking around Chinatown, but alas found no Chinese yoyo. We did, however, find some lovely  market stalls, brought some new fruits to try and a souvenir or two, and then ran back to the bus stop in order to get the last bus back to Times Square.

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As we arrived back in Times Square, the lights were just starting to shine, and we walked back to Port Authority bus terminal, stopping at a lovely brasserie on the way for a final vacation dinner.

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We’ve had a lovely time these last few weeks. It really was the vacation of a lifetime. We each have favorite memories, and we each have places we’d like to return to to explore more. I’ll post from home tomorrow – I’ll have some interesting souvenir pictures….

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Day 12 – Switch time!

After sleeping in, and waking up about 9am to a further two ambulances and set of police cars, we checked out of the hotel we were staying in – the front desk clerk didn’t argue for one minute when we explained that we didn’t want to stay. We moved to another hotel slightly closer to Boston – and a lot nicer. It turns out that the hotel we were staying in was also used by the housing authority to house families they had no space for, and it seems it had turned into a trouble spot. We were able to check into our new hotel right after leaving the first (thanks to a call to the hotel company), and from there we got the bus and “T” (underground) to Fenway Park for the Red Sox game.

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We had a great time at the game – it was a perfect day for it – and the stadium was full, even for a 1.30pm weekday game. Unfortunately the Red Sox lost to the Texas Rangers 10 to 9, but it was a very exciting game. 

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After the game we made the most of our travelcards by going over to Quincy Market, where we ate at the food hall – which was wonderful. Isabelle tried Clam Chowder for the first time and loved it! We did a little shopping and headed back to the hotel. 

Tomorrow we head to New York for our last stop – we can’t believe how fast this vacation has gone. 

Day 11 – Better late then never

Today was an eventful day – finally we got to see whales and puffins (and porpoises and seals!)

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See those two lumps? They are 2 of the group of 3 humpback whales that came and swam with the boat for a while. 

We were all thrilled that we got to go on the trip eventually – and it was worth waiting for. First we went to a puffin nesting island, and then out to the whale feeding grounds. It was amazing – certainly no picture I took can do it any justice. This is the puffin island – I don’t have a zoom lens to take pictures of puffins – we had to rely on binoculars!

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The puffin island is also a research station – they monitor all the nesting birds there for 16 weeks at a time. Isabelle thought that was a pretty neat job. The boat called the researchers over the radio and broadcast an interview. Apparently they are seeing birds this year that they haven’t seen in years – good news!

Straight after we got off the boat, we headed down to Boston. It was a long drive, but we got into the hotel at about 6, and then went into Salem to see the memorials to those accused of witchcraft so many years ago. We went back to the hotel, and as we were eating in the diner next door, we saw two ambulances and a police car headed into the hotel where we were staying. Little did we know….

 

Day 10 – Not a whale in sight…

… and for some reason, no pictures eitherl. I’m not sure if it’s the internet connection here, but I still can’t get pictures to load, so a triple dose of pictures from Boston tomorrow. The weather didn’t cooperate today either, apparently it was way too rough out there to go out – and since the whale grounds are 40 miles offshore, I’m happy to respect the captain’s decision… We’ve got one more chance, after we check out tomorrow. If not, we’re going to drive down towards Boston and try and get on a boat there. 

In other news, Chris and Iz took a nice hike this morning, walking up a local mountain and down by the shore, where they looked in rock pools and found star fish and some little crabs. After they got back, we headed out for some lunch, more lobster for Chris, a stop at a local brewery for a tasting and then some Ice Cream. 

This evening, we ate in the hotel room, and then went out – for me to get some much needed laundry done and Chris and Isabelle to do some shopping – Isabelle came back with some knee length knitted slippers, so she’s happy. 

Hopefully I’ll have some whale pictures by the time I post tomorrow night!

Day 9 – Foggy? Let’s go up the mountain!

So today was a bit of a disappointment – the whale trip was cancelled due to weather conditions. They gave us tickets for tomorrow, so we’re hoping it’s better then. Good news is they will refund our money if we don’t get to go out.

After getting up early and finding out the boat wasn’t running, I have to admit we went back to the hotel and dozed through the Murray/Federer final instead of going out and doing something bracing instead. We made up for it later by spending the day in Acadia National Park. where we saw a deer (but no moose). The park is beautiful – the pictures we took did it no justice. Also the fact the visibility was low means that we didn’t get to see some of the views. Hopefully that will happen tomorrow too. Chris wants to hike some difficult mountain trails and Iz and I are going to check out some wildlife programs, if the weather holds.

We came across a little rocky inlet where there were cairns everywhere – there must have been about a hundred in various places. Naturally we added our own before we left.

We also went into town for an early dinner – Iz has decided that she really likes lobster. She had her absolute favorite tonight – Lobster macaroni and cheese. She proclaimed it heavenly.

After dinner and a little light shopping for moose related items, we went back to the park for a ranger led program – Marine Mythbusters. No explosions, just a really good talk about tidewater pools and the animals in them.

So tomorrow, we’re hoping for better weather so we can see some whales. If not, we have one more chance on Tuesday morning before we have to move on to Boston.

 

[Edit  – Since pictures aren’t uploading for me tonight, I’ll put them in tomorrow when I have a better wireless connection – stay tuned!]

Day 8 – The great Moose conspiracy….

I’ve figured it out. There are no moose. It’s just a ruse to sell cute figurines to tourists. 

We drove for 7 hours today through moose country, and not one came up and stood by the road for us. Terrible. I hope the whales aren’t as shy tomorrow. 

We got up early and said goodbye to Montreal with a farewell trip to Tim Hortons. After a few hours, we reached it:

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Yes – the point where we get our phones back! Or working again without extortionate international fees.

A few more hours of the most beautiful drive imaginable, we made it to Bar Harbor. It’s lovely here. I’ll post more pictures tomorrow, because I forgot to take pictures before it got too dark, but we’re across the road from the bay and it’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. The town itself is fairly small and obviously made to cater to tourists – restaurants, galleries and  souvenir shops. 

Tomorrow at 8.30 we get on the boat to try and spot a whale (or hopefully two). Since we’ve been pretty wildlife free this trip so far, it would be nice to be successful there.