New England-Canada 2018

Mike and Sandy again joined their church's travel group for this trip from Boston to Montreal. 25 adventurers traveled on the 220-passenger Star Pride, of the Windstar fleet, formerly known as the Seabourn Pride. Here's the ship, and where they traveled.

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After a few pictures from around the ship, we'll get down to the ports visited along the way.

Sandy and Mike joined the group in Boston, and had a day of sightseeing before boarding the ship. Mike and Sandy were in Boston many years ago, but enjoyed learning more about why the Revolutionary War started in the Boston area (including of course Raul Revere's house and the Old North Church), visiting Old Iron Sides and Samuel Adams grave, and walking Harvard Yard, where the group got this picture.

The first stop was Provincetown, at the very end of Cape Cod. This little resort town is where the Pilgrims first landed. They lived on their ship and wrote the Mayflower Compact while exploring the area for about a month, before moving on to Plymouth, Massachusetts, with better soil for farming and building their settlement. This is the observation tower over the Pilgrim museum, a plaque commemorating the Compact, and the view from the top of the tower.

Next up was the little town of Rockland, Maine. Once big in ship-building and granite quarrying, it's now mainly about tourism. A sailboat ride on Penobscot Bay was planned, but poor weather discouraged Mike & Sandy from going. There was a cute lighthouse nearby -- unusual, in that the keeper's house seems bigger than the lighthouse itself. Bar Harbor, Maine, the next port, was also cloudy and wet, but at least no wind -- Mike and Sandy enjoyed a visit to Acadia National Park. (If you want to be thought a local, you'd pronouce this town as Baa-Haa-Baa.) Next came a day at sea, as the Star Pride entered Canadian waters and took us to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Mike & Sandy visited Peggy's Cove, a cute fishing village, with its own lighthouse, lobster pots, and boats. Back in town, the cemetary reminded us of the loss of life from the Titanic sinking.

To avoid a lengthly sail, we took a short-cut through the "Canso Canal" across a big peninsula, and made our way to Charlottetown, on Prince Edward Island. In history, this is the site of an 1864 conference that laid the groundwork for modern-day Canada. It's also the site of the house that inspired the novel Anne of Green Gables.

Our next port to visit was Gaspe, where over 90% of the residents speak French. We saw some fall foliage on our way into the town (where the first French explorer landed in 1524), and also along the main street.

Our last port call was at Quebec, where the ship spent two days. Quebec is the capital of "French Canada," and has a number of claims: the only walled city north of Mexico, the oldest shopping (pedestrians only) street in North America, and the oldest stone church in North America. Mike & Sandy combined a group tour of some of the highlights with lots of strolling around the coblestone streets

Montreal was the end of the cruise, but not quite the end of the trip, as Mike & Sandy's group left the ship for some sightseeing before checking into a local hotel. Montreal is the other major French-Canadian city, as well as the site of a Worlds Fair in 1967 and the Summer Olympics in 1976. It's culture is also shaped by the approximately 250,000 college students there, the largest such concentration in any city in the world. One hallmark of this is the large number of wall murals around the city. And some pretty dazzling fall colors!

Sandy & Mike headed to the airport for the flight home ...... time to start planning for Christmas and our January trip to Thailand!

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