We flew in Sunday and were picked up by taxi at the airport for the ride to the Belmont Hotel. During the trip, the driver was very vocal about the fact there were pigeons sitting on rooftops along the way. Little did we know, a lot of the drinking water on the island is caught by a built-in roof system and stored for later uses. Guess he At the hotel, we checked in and asked for general local information. We found out the easiest way to get around was to rent a scooter or catch the water taxi. Also the restaurants close at a certain time and there was no McDonald's or Burger King to run to. But I tell you what they do have, one beautiful place and I am not a beach person. Spent most of the trip exploring the island, playing on the beach or just laying around the pool. I really got a big surprise when I dove in the pool and it was salt water! Fresh water is only used for drinking and bathing, not for swimming. Sure it had all the same treatments as any other pool but it was an eye opener the first time you jumped in. We got a scooter and rode to the far end; tourists were not allowed to rent cars. Be sure not to head to the airport end, more cars for you to have to dodge. We rode all the way to Fort Scaur and took the time to look around for an hour or two before striking out back to the hotel. One thing you did not see was the “poor side of town” because there was not one. Things were not cheap, but you could find a deal or two if you got off the beaten path. With the water taxi dock at the back side of the hotel, we used it mainly for our trips to Hamilton. Much to my surprise, this was a very busy city. I also see where the term “bermuda short” comes from, most of the guys had on coat, tie and short pants. We had plans to leave Wednesday; I had a final inspection on Thursday that turned out to be a good thing. Come to find out the annual Cricket Tournament started that day and the whole island shuts down. Appears that this is the main local holiday and everybody comes. With this being our first trip to the islands, I think it is going to be hard to top this one.
Saint Thomas, VI
On this trip, we flew down to Saint Thomas in the US Virgin Islands. First thing that got everybody’s attention was the short runway; the brakes on that plane were good ones! The airport was small but that made it easy to get out of. We boarded an open-air bus and headed for the Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort, our bags would be delivered later. Had a great room, balcony overlooking the ocean! You could sit outside and watch all the boats coming and going to the island. We were
within walking distance of the downtown shorefront where you could find almost anything you wanted to buy. If it was not there, just head on down to the straw market where the cruise ships dock; they had it. I had carried my golf clubs hoping to find a golf course to tee it up, but no luck this time. We did spend a lot of time just exploring and relaxing. One day we took a tour over to the island of Saint John. First we took the boat then we were transported by bus the rest of the trip. We had lunch at a private resort and snorkeling in Trump Bay.
The next day our group rented a para-sail boat and headed for a little island in the bay. The boat would handle six people at a time and we had about thirty total. The zodiac would ferry people back and forth from the island to the main boat then back to the harbor. The remainder of the time we had the whole island to ourselves. So the hardest thing we did was to get up and look for something cold to drink. The hotel had everything from shops to dining; no real need to leave the grounds.
One morning I wondered out on the balcony and sat down to enjoy the morning. A first I thought a new island had appeared over night but I soon figured out it was a boat; a big boat! The USS Eisenhower had made port during the night with about 5,000 to 6,000 sailors on board. Thank goodness they would only let about 2,000 off at a time. You would think that many men, who had been at sea for six months, would turn the island upside down. But I have to admit, they had a good time but I did not see anyone get hung. They were also offering tours of the carrier but the stupid one did not take them up on that one – big mistake.
Step One – we boarded a plane in Raleigh-Durham and flew to Orlando. Step Two - there we were picked up by bus and transported to Port Canaveral to start our southern adventure. Step Three - waiting in line to check in at a cruise ship looked to be an adventure in itself but they had done this before and things moved very quick and smoothly. We now had to locate our cabin and wait for our bags to do the same thing. On deck, everybody was getting in the spirit. Now I know where Jimmy Buffett came up with the term boat drinks! But before long, we had left port and headed for the open seas; sounding like a sailor already. The first big fear about taking a cruise is “will I get sea sick?” No and I did not see anyone who did. Only one night did we even feel the boat trying to do the jitterbug. But I also did find out where the term sea legs came from. Dining was just like you had always heard about, very well presented and very good. The first morning we docked in Freeport. Now I know where all the limos go to retire, they were lined up at the pier. I wondered if there was a contest to see how many people could fit in one car. But this was all part of the fun. At the straw market in town, you could find anything and Soon we headed back to the boat and set sail for Nassau. We started this stop by taking a snorkeling trip. Lots of open water, fish and rum; these people must live off of these stuff. We get back and change clothes just in time to enjoy my favorite part of the trip, the food! The boat stayed in port for two nights giving everyone plenty of time to for The final night was dress up night. Yes, I put on a coat and tie. The rest of the time was shorts and tee shirts, my kind of attire. That night the crew announced that Cuban cigars were not legal in the US so there would be a huge smoking party on the top deck that night. For the Canadian passengers, they were legal in Canada. But we were not docking in Canada so they should join in the fun also. For our first cruise, it was short and sweet but I would rate it good trip. Time now to head for home.
Go west young man – ok, so I am not as young as I once was. Get to mix a little pleasure with business on this outing; I had a Metal Building Convention in Mesa, AZ to attend.
Monday – we fly into Phoenix, picked up the rental car then head to the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest National Park. We spent the afternoon walking and riding the park before continuing on to Flagstaff. We did get to see some antelope standing beside the road late that afternoon as well as all the beautiful landscape.
Tuesday – we made a side trip to take some pictures at the Arizona Snowbowl Ski Resort before pulling into Tusayan. I am still amazed that there can be so much flat land at high elevations, not in North Carolina. We had scheduled a tour that afternoon outside the entrance to the Grand Canyon National Park. The tour took us through the area surrounding the canyon with stops at a number of viewing locations. We also learned the local history and saw a herd of elk as we rode the back roads and trails. The last stop was a location where we could watch the sunset in the canyon, then onto the hotel. We had supper that night We had tried to reserve a room there also but it appears they stay booked about a year in advance. We just did make the last shuttle back to Maswik Lodge to save having to hike it.
It is easy to see why so many people visit the park each year. After a little sightseeing and shopping we strike out for Sin City – Las Vegas! On the ride over, I felt my head wanting to spin; with a head like mine, you would think this was normal. But soon Teresa had to take over the driving She did great traveling through the desert and across Hoover Dam. Next stop, the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino that had only opened a few weeks before. Super hotel, this place had its own beach with a pool and wave machine. We also had tickets to see the Broadway show “Chicago” in the hotel auditorium that night starring Ben Vereen. I did wake up a little earlier than normal and went downstairs just to visit the blackjack table. After leaving a few bucks, I headed back up and we loaded the car to go back to Arizona; time now to go to work.
Did almost wind up on the Sky Harbor runway but only a minor delay in incoming flight times. We continued onto the Arizona Golf Resort and Conference Center to check in. Then we drove into Scottsdale for a supper of grilled chicken and southwestern cornbread.
Friday – was meetings, exhibits, and networking, the whole convention thing. Glad it was all on site, the As always, we did take the time to check out the bargains at the Arizona Mills Mall, a Teresa thing.
Saturday – we headed for Old Tucson to see where a lot of the old western movies were made. Rio Bravo, McLintock, The Outlaw-Josey Wales and The Frisco Kid were all shot there. Along with TV shows like Little With way to many actors to name, Old Tucson was once known as “Hollywood in the Desert.” We spent the day watching gunfights, stagecoach robberies and my favorite, the saloon shows. It must have been great to be a cowboy! Then we stopped for pictures before going back to Mesa. The convention ended with the award banquet that night and a great meal. Time now to call it a night, we had an early flight the next morning – back to the real world.
This year the Metal Building Conference was held outside of Stone Mountain in Georgia. I had just gotten home Wednesday night from a ten-day hunting trip to the Northwest Territory for caribou and was back on a plane Thursday afternoon. I did go into the office to check messages and review the paperwork that had accumulated on my desk. Teresa was at home packing clean clothes for the Georgia trip and unpacking the dirty ones from the Canada hunt. I can really cause a mess without trying real hard. First thing, it appeared we were going to miss our plane. I dropped Teresa and the bags off at the main terminal but had to go out to Park and Ride 4 to find a parking space. By the time the bus got me back, it was only 15 minutes before our scheduled flight time. Once inside I saw Teresa was nowhere near the check-in counter due to the long line of people. This was because a number of the flights had been delayed, ours included. A big thunderstorm had moved into the area and screwed up both incoming and outgoing planes. If everything had been business as normal, we would have missed our scheduled departure. But we arrived in Atlanta a few hours late, got a rental car and headed for the motel. We checked into the Evergreen Marriott Conference Resort and man was this place super! After camping in a wall tent and sleeping bag for 5-6 days, it was great to have a huge room and comfortable king size bed. Friday morning I must admit I slept in a little. Then I made the rounds to the exhibits and classes before we headed into the city to eat. We checked out the Atlanta Underground for some shopping and supper. The next morning we went to see Stone Mountain Park. We took the Summit Skyride to the top of the mountain to take some pictures. The high-speed Swiss cable car provides a stunning view of the Confederate Memorial. You could enjoy the mountain-side carvings as the cable transports you more than 825 feet above ground to the top of Stone Mountain. From the top, we experienced amazing views of the Atlanta skyline, the OK – I copied that part from their website, I am not that good with words. We decided to hike down and took the rental car into the town of Stone Mountain. There, Teresa could shop and I just killed time. I went into a little grill that was closing for lunch and ordered a burger. They locked the doors in order to prepare for the supper meal but allowed me to eat and watch the ballgame. How Teresa found me I will never know, but she did. It was now time to head back to the convention center and get dressed for the awards banquet. Sunday morning we made our way back to Hartsfield International Airport, boarded an Air Tram and headed home.
Our trip to Alaska starts by flying out to Seattle a day early to take a side trip to Roslyn, Washington - home of the TV show "Northern Exposure". OK, filming ended in the mid 90's but I was a big fan; Teresa liked it also.
We got to look into the office of Dr. Fleischman - check out the home of Holling and Shelly and town gathering spot The Brick -
Cicely, AK was also home to Ed, Marilyn and my favorite, Adam; dude walked to the beat of a different drum. The show lasted only six seasons but will live forever on DVD.
Time now to head to Alaska!
We boarded the Star Princess Saturday and headed north. The first full day was spent cruising up the Inside Passage. It was great to just sit back on the balcony and watch the world sail by.
Day Two was the first port - Juneau. After the ship docked, we took a helicopter out to Norris Glacier, Teresa's first time in a whirly bird. After a short landing, we flew back for some shopping and a stop at the Red Dog Saloon.
Day Three we awoke in Skagway - gateway to the Alaskan Yukon Gold Rush. We boarded a tour bus and headed to the Yukon. After a number of stops for pictures, we had lunch near Carcross. Coming back, we took the train in Frasier, BC to ride along the same rails used to carry the miners in and the gold out. The Chilkoot Trail was the only other way to the gold fields. It was estimated that 100,000+ people went in but less that 30,000 came out. We again checked out the shops with a side trip to the Red Onion Saloon.
Day Four we cruised the Tracy Arms Fjord. With it getting light before 4:00am and not getting dark until almost 10:00pm, the days were very long. Iceburgs, seals and walrus are all along the way. And at the end was another glacier, an amazing sight!
Day Five we sailed into Ketchikan. We rented a float plane to get a firsthand look at the real Alaska! Mountain goats ran across the top of the snow covered hills and not a cloud in the sky. We landed at a fishing lodge and took a look around before heading back to town for, you guessed it, shopping.
Day Six was the final port of call, Victoria, BC. We hopped on a bus to go into the center part of the city to look around at all the Old World architecture. This was a very popular stop for all the cruise ships. Lots of pretty flowers and shopping make it a real chic place. We were back into Seattle before morning. Seven days passed by much too quickly!
A great trip, one I wish everyone could take.
Thanks to a Metal Building Convention, we got to fly up to Chicago. Busy airport, crowded streets and very tall buildings tell us we are not in Kansas any more Toto (I mean NC). We stayed at the Palmer House downtown, what a pad!
We took side trips to Navy Pier, Sears Tower and Buckingham Fountain. We also went walking around City Hall and downtown. Then we took a Chicago architectural river boat tour to see all the buildings and hear the history about early Chicago. Friday night we asked the hotel concierge where a good place to eat would be. He recommended The Saloon Steakhouse, great choice! While we were there, John Madden and Al Michaels also came in to eat; they were there to do the Monday Night game at Soldier Field. Yes, I did attend the meetings - for a little while. Our trip lasted just four short days; time now to hop a plane back to Raleigh-Durham.
West Jefferson, NC
We had a real log cabin, well my boss does. He let us use it for a few days. We did the tourist thing, Grandfather Mountain, Linville Caverns, Linville Falls and Tweetsie Railroad. One night we went into Boone for supper and to take in "Upon To These Hills". We even rented a kayak and headed down the New River for about three hours, needed a bath anyway.
Mainly we got a lttle down time, felt great not to have to go at full throttle for a change. I have not been to the hills since I was, well smaller than I am now.
San Diego, CA
This year Teresa had a special education legal conference, so this time I got to go along and play. I flew out after she finished up and we took in three days of Sea World, San Diego Zoo and sightseeing. The first day we drove over to check out all the sea animals. With shows like Shamu, the Dolphin Experience and the Sea Lion, we put in a full day. We also visited the penguins, seals, sharks, manatees and polar bear exhibits. After all of this, we did not make it for the fireworks show.
The second day was the San Diego Zoo. Too many different animals to name them all. We walked (and rode) the entire day. Word of advice, take the chair lift to the other side and work your way back. Animals I had never seen up close included the koala and panda bears. These were two of the main attractions, as well as lions, tigers, elephants, gorilla - well you get the idea. If you wanted to see all the different things in this park, I think it would take a week or more. We did all we could do in the one day we were there; slept good after these two days.
The last day we opted to take the Old Town Trolley Tour. Jump off where you want to and stay as long as you like. Don't miss the last trolley or you may have to call a cab to get back to your car. With stops at the USS Midway, Hotel del Coronado, Balboa Park and Seaport Village to name just a few, we again spent the whole day going at full speed. Time now to board Delta Airlines and go home.
Philadelphia, City of Brotherly Love. We drove up on Friday to take in all the July 4th activities. Concerts, parades,
reenactments, you name it, they had it! We pulled up to the Four Points Sheraton and turned the car over to the valet; did not see it again until Monday. We were within walking distance of most of the main attractions in town. We also had purchased the Philadelphia Pass that allowed us to jump on and off The Big Bus as much as we wanted to. It has stops at all the biggies, Liberty Bell, Betsy Ross’s house, Love Park just to name a less. The only thing to be sure of was what time the last bus left each stop; you would wind up walking if you missed it. One of the first things we went to was Independence Hall, the place where the Declaration of Independence was signed. It was amazing to be in the center of all the early American history. It was only a short walk across the street to the Liberty Bell Center. With it being the Fourth, there were lots of long lines and big crowds. We took in a few of the old gathering spots in town like the City Tavern; I bet there had been some great stories told there. At the National Constitution Center, it looked like a 1700’s army camp withWe even took the Ride the Ducks tour; had a great driver! She was full of all kinds of history and just life in general; wishes I felt as good as she appeared to. Must be my age. By the time we finished eating supper at Maggianos, the only thing I wanted was the bed. I was too tire to even go down to the free concert with Sheryl Crowe and watch the fireworks; saw some on TV when Teresa would wake me
The next day we went at it just as hard as the first day. Went down to the Franklin Institute Science Museum to see Big Ben, no not the one from Pittsburgh. We also visited his grave where people still throw coins. It is estimated that they take in over $4,000.00 a year, which is used to keep up the grounds. It is very few times Teresa gets it in her head that she must have something but she had to have some ice cream. WeMust admit, it tasted great after a full day of sightseeing. The Betsy Ross tour was great. Most houses were two or three stories with a basement but very narrow. Come to find out, you were taxed based on street frontage and the number of steps leading into each home; go figure. Mid day we had to find Pat’s Cheesesteaks for lunch. It is straight across the street form Geno’s, you talk about a crowd of people. We stood in line for over 45 minutes just to order. But it is something and somewhere you should go to. Did the Rocky thing but I walked up the steps at the museum myself. Went down to Love Park and the downtown area. City Hall is William Penn who used this as the main structure in town laid the city in the late 1600’s. Some of the homes are registered by the National Historical Society as early as 1703. One of the last places we went in was Christ Church, stay holding services today. Hard to amagin this was the same place George Washington attended church. We ended the night with supper at the Hard Rock then back to the hotel. With so many things to do and see we did not make it to the Eastern State Penitentiary or Philadelphia Zoo, maybe next time. The morning we were leaving Teresa again got a wild hair and we headed up the street. The next thing I knew we were in Termini Brothers ordering a cannoli. She had seen it on the Food Network and we were not leaving Philly without one; dudes can make pasties. The bad part about leaving was we were not about to cover all we would have liked and it was seven hours back home.
We put together a last minute trip and headed south to Charleston, SC. Tons of history, great architecture and food! In the early 1800's Charleston was one of the largest cities and seaports in the United States.Charleston is only about a four-hour drive south, perfect for a long weekend trip. One of the first items on our list was to take a carriage ride and see the historic section. Started up around the Market area, continuing past homes built in the 1800’s, down to the Battery and back. Homes ranging in size from 1,000 to 25,000 square feet, the largest topping $45,000,000 in today’s cost. We then returned to find the car had been towed; we had parked in the wrong spot. But we were not the only ones to have bad luck this day. The cruise ship pulled into port with 400+ sick passengers on board; some type of virus. The towing adventure took us about two hours and a ride in the police car downtown to get things back to normal. Just in time to still get a reservation at “Hanks” on Haynes Street – great place! We now headed back to the condo and crashed.
The next morning we took a walk to the Waterfront Park and breakfast at the Vendue Hotel. Jumped on the CARTA and went out to the Fort Sumter Memorial but missed the midday boat and had to wait for the 2:30pm trip. Had time to read up on the history of the battle that is known to be the start of the Civil War. Amazed to find out that the shelling lasted for 34 hours and not a single life was lost. Once we got over to the fort, the wind really started blowing and it was COLD! Fort Sumter is located in the center of the harbor leading into Charleston and named after General Thomas Sumter. The Confederates fired the first shot at 4:30 am on April 04, 1861 from Fort Johnson after Major Robert Anderson refused to surrender. If you want to read the rest of the story, you can find it on Wikipedia. We got back and walked down to the “Buccaneer Resturant” for another super meal; this city has got some great places to tie on the old feed bag!
Sunday morning we walked down to Battery Park and to the Market for some last minute shopping. On the way home, we stopped off at the USS Yorktown, an aircraft carrier used in WWII. I could have spent a whole day exploring the ship and taking the tours. Commissioned in 1943, it served until 1970. One of its last missions was to recover the Apollo 8 astronauts in December of 1968. We also took in the USS Clamagore submarine; best not try this one if you are claustrophobic. These sailors lived and worked in some tight places. But it is now time to head back up north. Would have loved to spent a week (or longer) checking out all the sights and tasting the great food; hope to return again soon.
New England / Canada Cruise
A new day has come. Teresa retired! The end of June marked thirty years and she said
it was time to head home. So I am thinking – supper on the table every night, grass cut, house clean; great! She is thinking – time for a trip; I liked that one too! She checked into a number of possibilities but one thing Teresa had never done was visit the country just north of us. After looking at a number of options, both land and sea, she picked a cruise to New England / Canada on the Crown Princess. We had not been on one of these big boats since 2003.
New York, NY 08/17/10 – The flight to the Big Apple had some changes, 09:15 am
flight left at 10:45 am due to a tornado in New York City the day before. After landing at LaGuardia, we were bussed to the Brooklyn Terminal. You always hear about the terrible traffic in New York City but those bus drivers make it look easy. At the pier, Princess had a great system for handling the large crowds and we were on the ship in no time. After locating and checking out our cabin, we headed out to check out the Crown. We took the elevator up as high as it would take us and started working our way down. The putting green was on Deck 19, Skywalker’s Lounge was on Deck 18, youth center on Deck 17, fitness center on Deck 16 and my favorite Deck 15 – the buffet! For our first supper, we had lobster claws and prime rib; what a way to start. That night we had some swells at sea but that did not stop any of the shows.
New London, CT 09/18/10 – This is the first time the Crown had made this a port of call
. A band playing at the pier greeted us. We did not make any big plans or book any shore excursions for this stop. Caught the free shuttle from the dock to the visitor’s center and just walked around. Saw some great old buildings and in general just took our time looking over the city. One stop was the First Church of Christ, a beautiful stone building that was allowing visitors inside. The church had a huge pipe organ and large Tiffany stained glass windows. On the way out, you could even stop and ring the steeple bell. The town had a number of mural paintings on different buildings, one from a passenger on our cruise that you will hear about later. One of Teresa’s favorite stops was the Nathan Hale Schoolhouse used in the late 1700’s; once a teacher, always a teacher I guess. From a whaling town to now a port-shipping center, New London has always been a city of the sea. Teresa and I then went back to the ship and watched “Ironman” that afternoon at the MUTS. We had another great meal before taking in the show at the theater.
Boston, MA 09/19/10 – Too many things to do in this city; tons of history. We grabbed a cab and went to the USS Constitution, the oldest commissioned ship in the Navy. Took the short top deck tour From there we did the Freedom Trial, in reverse. We did a little back tracking up to the Old North Church – one if by land and two if by sea. Inside was another beautiful pipe organ and the stairway used to carry the lantern up to the top. Then we headed down the trail to the home of that famous rider, Paul Revere. With time being short and a lot we wanted to see, we did not make it inside this one. We headed down past The Union Oyster House, Quincy Market, Old State House, Old South Meeting House, Old City Hall, Granary Burial Ground, Cheers and Cheers II. One place Teresa was not going to miss this trip was Mike’s Pastries. She picked us up a tasty dessert treat and we stopped just long enough to eat it before starting back and ending at Boston Commons. We spent the whole day walking; man were we glad to get back to the boat and take a little rest. But this is one place we hope to return to and spend more than one day.
Bar Harbor, ME 09/20/10 – we sailed into the bay and were tendered to the dock, a first
for us. This was a test of some people’s patience. We had not booked an early excursion so as not to be in a hurry. This is a very colorful little town, set up for cruise ship visitors. Once it was a summer retreat to the Campbell’s, Morgan’s, Rockefeller’s, etc before the time of the automobile; they even once banned all cars from the island. We walked around town and did a little shopping before heading to the Oli’s Trolley station. Our Acadia National Park tour took us to the top of Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the east coastline. The wind picked up and temperature started dropping; it got cool up there. Out in the bay you could get a good view of our cruise liner. Back in town we had our first taste of a lobster roll; it was great! Then we boarded a huge catamaran, time to go find some lighthouses. The tour guide got us in as close as he could and told us about the different structures. We had just enough time to snap a few pictures before heading off to the next one. Also saw a few homes of some famous property owners and where a number of films were made. The coastline was a sight to behold, no wonder some many people loved to vacation there. Then back to the Crown for supper and “Date Night” at the MUTS.
Saint John, NB 09/21/10 – Made it into port along with two other cruise ships, man ther
e was a crowd in town. We did the Big Pink Bus, with hop on, hop off stations. With three different routes, one can cover the biggest part of the city. We saw the childhood home of Donald Sutherland, Saint John’s most famous celebrity along with Reverse Falls. With a 26 feet tidal change twice a day, it is one of the only places where the river runs backwards each day. Teresa jumped off at the City Market for shopping and I headed back to the pier. On the street was what appeared to be a silver statue of a man that looked a little out of place. This was a right dude and he would move once you got near him; scared all the children and most grown-ups too. First time I had seen this one, bet he made a boatload of tips that day with all these people in town-over 10,000 on the three ships. Saint John is known as the first settlement of Canada, discovered in 1604 and settled in 1762. The Great Fire of 1877 destroyed almost 2/3 of the city, covering over 200 acres. Now, its main industries are wood products, oil and gas. Onboard that night we watched a demonstration by the artist Wyland – this was the one I was talking about above.
Halifax, NS 09/22/10 – we booked a trip out to Peggy’s Cove, the region’s most famous
attraction. We boarded a large bus for a one-hour drive to the lighthouse. Donna, our tour guide was great; she was native to Nova Scotia. At the village of Peggy’s Cove, we were given a lobster lesson and a brief history of the area. Teresa got her picture taken holding one, I prefer to see them lying on a plate in front of me covered in butter. We then had about an hour to explore and take pictures. It has a very colorful fishing town with a number of shops, buildings, a church and even a school. This is one stop you need to come to and see if you are in Halifax. Back in town, we did the hop on hop off bus to check out the rest of the town. We got off at the Public Gardens and walked around to see the floral arrangements. I am sure Teresa was looking for more ideas for her flowerbeds back home. We then rode by the Citadel but did not check it out. Time now to head back to the boat. Halifax is also known as the burial ground for a number of the victims who drowned during the maiden, and only, voyage of the Titanic.
Sydney, NS 09/23/10 – First cold day of the trip. Temperature was in the high 50’s / low
60’s but the wind was blowing 25 to 30 mph. On the pier was the largest fiddle I had ever seen; it welcomes the cruise ships to the dock. We had some time to kill before our tour at 01:30 pm so we headed uptown. We first visited Saint George’s Church established in 1785 and then started our walking tour of Sydney. Teresa also stopped in for her first taste of Tim Horton coffee, Canada’s finest. Due to my bad knee that I have had since high school, we cut the walk-a-bout a little short. We returned by the boardwalk and stopped in for a bite to eat; Teresa got seafood chowder and I chose a cinnamon roll. We then made our way to the meeting point and hopped on the shore excursion bus. The driver and guide took us to a local museum and World War I outpost camp as well as a scenic tour of the coastline. Little known fact, Sydney Harbor played a big part in the war ship convoys. After supper, we watched “The Bounty Hunter” on the MUTS screen wrapped up in blankets. By then it had turned down right cold!
Charlottetown, PE 09/24/10 – We docked at the port and picked up our rental car to check out the island. We had a list of lighthouses we wanted to visit along with the Confederation Bridge and the House
of Green Gables. Gary and Kim from California whom we met on the cruise joined us on this adventure. Prince Edward Island was a great, beautiful place to visit. I understand why everyone said it is one port not to miss. All the “Islanders” who call it home say they would live nowhere else. Around every corner we found beautiful homes with great yards and landscaping. Saw some great little fishing villages and the “Largest Tree” on Prince Edward Island. One thing we had never seen were red sand beaches. Not red clay, red sand! The stores all had rust colored towels that read, “This was a white towel before coming to PEI”. The only problem we found was only having a few hours to see the sights. This is one place I would love to come back to and spend some more time. After supper we again tried out the MUTS, “The A-Team” was playing.
At Sea 09/25/10 – After eight days and seven ports of call, this was a welcome
break; time to give the old bad leg a rest. It is also the only day that we did not have to do any planning and preparing. We slept in and then had a late breakfast before just doing nothing. Teresa did go to the fitness center; I exercised my eyes by watching the inside of my eyelids. Then after a late lunch, the hardest thing we did was watch “The Blind Side” on the ship’s TV. After receiving our disembarking instructions from Princess, Teresa started packing all the dirty clothes in preparation of getting off the ship; only one more port to go. We took in the Motown Show in the Princess Theatre before heading out to the MUTS movie, “Extraordinary Measures”. Me, I was looking for a slice of pizza and some popcorn.
Quebec City, QU 09/26/10 – Our final port of call. Quebec City is the last walled city in North America. Built on top of a hill, the only way to get there is to put on your hiking shoe or take the Funiculaire.
That is French for a glass elevator; I am not a fan of these things. We walked around the city checking out the old churches, buildings and sites. One that stood out the most was the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac. Opened in 1893, it was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1980. The hotel is perched atop a tall cape overlooking the Saint Lawrence River and is a great landmark to see in the daytime or at night. Our bags had to be out in the hall before supper for the stewards to transport them to the terminal. We had our final supper with our new friends from CA and then stopped in the International Café for coffee. Not much on those designer brands, the fresh brewed worked just fine for me. Time now to call it a night.
Quebec City, QU 09/27/10 – Time to board a Delta plane for home. After clearing Customs at the dock, we headed outside to find our ride. The Princess transfer bus took us to Quebec Airport along
with about 2,000 other people trying to catch a flight. On the way we saw our first colors of fall, some of the tree leaves were starting to change. The airport turned out to be a huge mess due to the number of people all arriving at one time; they needed more ticket counters open. We flew into Detroit for a short layover before the last leg of the flight to RDU. Once again we had to clear Customs, which required a big smile on your face and a little patience. Dude did take my tube of toothpaste, must not have liked my smile. Back in NC, we were greeted with warmer weather and tons of rain; five inches had fallen the day before with more to come.
We could find very little to complain about with the cruise or the ports of call. Got to visit four different provinces, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Quebec; all in ten days. Not
overlooking New York City, New London, Boston and Bar Harbor, we enjoyed them also. This is a trip we can highly recommend to anyone who wants to see the New England / Canada coastal cities. We have read a lot about overcrowding due to the size of the Crown but we did not have any problems. She was like a floating city with most everything you could want on board. But we would love to drive back sometime and spend more than just one day seeing the local sights. I have to say that Prince Edward Island has to rate as one of the prettiest places I have ever been. It was very easy to drive and we enjoyed the small amount of time we had there. Would really enjoy having the time someday to be able to visit all the lighthouses; just hope it could really happen someday!
Questions or comments email@example.com