New England/Canada - Oct 2003

Click on Day heading to see pictures for that day.

Day 1 - Flying to Buffalo, NY

We left work a little early and drove down to the nearest MARTA station. It was a first MARTA ride for both of us. I can't complain, it was cleaner than I figured it would be and it was better than driving in traffic i suppose. It did seem awfully slow but I'm sure it was still quicker than driving. The flight was supposed to depart at 20:15. I think we finally got off the ground around 21:20, which made me a little nervous since we had a connecting flight in Cincinnati 22:30. We made it alright though and found Cincinnati has a very strange airport. We got into Buffalo on time and Jenny and Mike were there to pick us up a couple of minutes after we got to the baggage claim area. It was great to see my Jenny! We stayed the night with them.

Day 2 - Driving from Buffalo, NY to Lake Bomoseen, VT

So our adventure begins… We went to the airport around lunch to get our car and headed out from there. We drove a loop up into the Adirondacks in hope of seeing some foliage, but, alas, there was none. Or at least not much. We made a few stops and even asked around about when the peak foliage time was and we were informed that we were there at the right time, it was the leaves that were running late. So it goes. Once we crossed into Vermont, it started getting dark so we stopped for the night, lest we should miss any great Vermont foliage.

Day 3 - Driving from Lake Bomoseen, VT to Cape Neddick, ME

We woke up to a very rainy day. We did get to see the lake that we were staying on last night and it was very large and pretty in the rain. We drove down through Vermont, turned east in Hartford, Connecticut, through Rhode Island and Massachusetts. We had planned on staying the night in Boston, but there was severe traffic problems so we took the by-pass around it and headed into Maine. We stopped in the vicinity of Cape Neddick. We stayed at the Lighthouse Inn which was near Nubble Lighthouse. We drove by the lighthouse but it was too dark to see anything but the red beacon.

Day 4 - Driving from Cape Neddick, ME to St. Andrews, NB

We started off the morning at Nubble Lighthouse. It was so pretty! We took several pictures of it in the morning light and then headed on up the road. We stuck along the coast for a little bit but then decided it was just going to take way too long to do that all the way. Stupid traffic lights and slow traffic. So we made our way over to the Freeway and continued north. We drove through some pretty places. We got to the Canadian border just shortly before the sun started to set and crossed into New Brunswick. We made it to St. Andrews while there was still enough sun to see the Passamaquoddy Bay and Bay of Fundy. We stayed at the Fairmont Algonquin (we had two nights comp because of a mixup with a conference the year before). They gave us the nicest room! We had a regular king room with a bathroom that had a jetted tub and separate shower, but it had another room attached. It was a TURRET ROOM (those of you who know me probably know my fascination with turrets in architecture)!!! It was big and had windows 180° around and a fireplace in the middle of the rounded-room and a little kitchenette and a guest bathroom with a shower. They had a fruit plate set out for us and all that gig. We went out to eat and when we came back, the bed was turned down and there was a log for the fireplace and a bucket of ice. We layed on the couch in front of the fireplace before the fire started to go out and then we went to bed.

Day 5 - Whale watching in the Bay of Fundy, St. Andrews, NB

We got up early and started calling around to see if any of the whale-watching outfits were still open. We lucked out and found the Quoddy Link which was doing two more tours for the year. The tour was not until 1330 so we got ready and went to walk around town (it was a tiny town) and get some lunch. We got to the wharf and found the other 20 or so people who would be watching whales with us. We loaded the boat and got the safety gig and were off. To the best of my recollection, I had never really been on a boat before (other than canoe or the Disney ferry). What fun!!! There were a few of us brave (stupid) souls who ventured up to the upper deck and froze in the cold wind. The water was beautiful. We saw several dolphins/porpoises and ducks and gulls on our way out to sea. After about an hour, we spotted our first Humpback whale. It was incredible. We all crowded around with our cameras (all just waiting for a little tail). It was just beautiful. We saw several humpbacks and a few finbacks in the distance. After an hour or so, we went out and got a closer look at the finbacks. The humpbacks aren't as big, but they show their tail when they do a terminal dive. The finbacks are the second largest whales in the world (up to 78' -- and us in a 40' boat was a little intimidating). The finback also has a much larger blow (6-7' high) than the humpback (3-4' high). It was just so beautiful to watch them in such an open and natural environment. We had gotten about 20 knots away from land before heading back. On the way back, we saw a few islands of rocks with harbor seals sunning themselves. They were so cute!!! We also went by a large (6' by 7') bald eagles nest with an eaglet looking out at us. They said that while checking things out, some scientist went up to look at the nest and found 37 cat collars in it. So that's where fluffy went. As we were going by the salmon aguaculture farm on the way in, the guides pulled out a cooler with some starfish and urchins for us to see and pass around. Brought back some good memories of violating sea urchins in 9th grade biology. After we got back to the wharf (four hours later), we went out for dinner and got some wine on the way back to the hotel. We had a nice jetted bath with wine and then layed by the fire until bedtime. It was such a nice place.

Day 6 - Driving from St. Andrews, NB to Québec City, QC

Sadly, I left my nice little turret this morning. We had a nice country drive up through Canada. We stopped in Hartland, NB to see the World's Longest Covered Bridge. It was pretty impressive. It has a little walking lane in the side of it that is called the "kissing lane" because, when the bridge was built in 1901, that was where a couple went to steal a kiss. A little further north, we pulled off in Grand Falls, NB to see the falls and gorge. It was a nice area and we walked around a little. We were getting closer to Québec and started seeing a lot of french on the signs. And when we stopped at McD's to get something to eat, everyone was speaking french (of course, they did speak english for us). We had planned on stopping in Riviére du Loup for the night, but when we got to the Québec welcome center, we decided that there would be more to do tomorrow in Québec City. We drove nearly the whole way along the Saint Lawrence river, which is just huge, so it was a very pretty drive. Yes, by this time all of the road signs were completely french. Poor Randal. He was so frustrated with the lack of english signs and radio. I loved it. Not only because I like french, but also because it was nice to be inundated with another language beside español for a change. We got to Québec City right around sunset and went to eat at a place that the hotel clerk suggested, called Cosmos. It was really a spiffy place as far as atmosphere. Yes, we ate hamburgers. We then drove into old Québec (Vieux Québec) and went into the fort (inside the walls). I cannot even describe how magnificent the architecture is there! It was absolutely incredible. Especially all lit up in the night. We made such a great choice when we decided to drive there tonight.

Day 7 - Driving from Québec City, QC to Brooksville, ON

We got up this morning and did some more sight-seeing/photography around Vieux Québec during the daylight. I love this City!!! It is so wonderful! We then headed over to the Beaupré district to visit Le Parc de la Chute-Montmorency. The main waterfall was very large and pretty. The best part about it though was that you could get SO close to it. There was a platform that you could walk up to that was probably about 15' from the foot of the falls. Of course, we did walk up there and got absolutely soaked! Which felt good in the very cold northern air. We then walked over to one of the smaller falls and then got on the road. Our goal was to make it past Montreal, into Ontario so that we could make it to Detroit tomorrow. We made it to a little town called Brooksville and stayed at a very nice B&B. If I could remember the name of it, I would give it a plug.

Day 8 - Driving from Brooksville, ON to Detroit, MI

Had a yummy breakfast (I love B&Bs!) and then headed out. The owners had recommended that we take a tour-cruise of the Thousand Islands area so we set off with the intentions of doing that. We got there and purchased our tickets and the lady angered me (first not-nice Canadian we'd met). We waited around a little while but before long, there were 7 huge tour buses full of people there to get on the same boat as us. Since I was still perturbed by the ticket lady, and we didn't feel like being sardines for a pleasure tour, we decided to get a refund and get on the road instead. We made it to Detroit just as the sun was getting low. I HAVE NOW BEEN TO ALL 48 CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES!!! (and 3 Canadian Provinces!) I was really surprised to see such nice foliage. To this point in our trip, MI had the nicest foliage.

Day 9 - Driving from Detroit, MI to Buffalo, NY

We pretty much decided just to head back to Jenny's today. We got up semi-early and drove/walked around downtown Detroit by the river. We then crossed back into Canada and headed toward NY. It was a nice leisurely drive and there were a few spots of nice foliage, but not much. We crossed back to the American side around 18:00 and called Jenny to let her know we were on our way. I'm pleased to say that I even found our way through Buffalo back to where she lives (NEVER ask Jenny for directions anywhere!). Mike was still at work so the three of us went to Anchor Bar - home of the Buffalo Wings - and had a very yummy dinner. They were very good wings, and huge, but they would have been so much better with garlic tnt. So it goes. We stayed up and talked with Mike for a while when he came home and then we crashed on the living room floor.

Day 10 - Allegheny State Park, NY & PA

Today we actually slept in a little, which was very nice. Mike went to work around 10:00 so the three of us decided to go out in search of foliage. We headed south toward Ellicotvile, NY (Jenny had been informed about a big fall festival going on there. We stopped in on it but it was mostly venders so we didn't stay long.). We then found some little back roads and made our way down to Allegheny State Park. We saw some absolutely breathtaking foliage! On the way out, we came upon several cars stopped on the side of the road, which I decided meant there was a bear. I was correct. We stopped and got out and walked back to the car behind us and there he was - an enormous black bear (boy guessed appx 300lbs)about 30' away and walking toward us! He stopped at a tree about 25' feet away and looked at us all for a minute before turning and walking back into the woods. I got some pretty good video, and one decent still shot. We weren't too worried because we figured for sure we could outrun the old people who's car we were standing at. It was exciting. That's the second wild bear sighting I've had (the other was at Cades Cove in TN, stood under a tree with one big bear eating acorns up in the limbs and then saw a momma and two cubs walking along about 50' feet away). We then headed back toward Buffalo. We had promised Jenny and Mike that we would pretend to be young and social (quite a stretch for us) one night while we were there so when Mike got home, we started getting ready. We went to some bar. It was about like a bar. My boy and I had one drink apiece to be sociable. We stayed there until about 02:00 and went back to their apartment for an unsuccessful (in that Randal and I abstained and Mike was upset over that) drinking game. We didn't get to sleep until about 05:30! That's like 7.5 hours past my bedtime!!!!

Day 11 - Niagara Falls, NY & ON

Slept in until close to 11:00 this morning. Mike had to work again so we three headed to the falls. We walked around the American side first, then drove over to the Canadian side. We then drove around the Greater Niagara area of the Canadian side to pass time so that we could see the falls all lit up at night too. We went to the whirlpool area and watched them for a little while. We then drove around the Old Niagara area, which was very pretty. Drove by the Prince of Whales hotel and dropped our jaws at it. We saw the falls change colors a couple of times and headed back to Buffalo.
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