The last time I saw Bar Harbor, Maine my heart was young and gay… as the song goes. Sort of. I remember a sleepy little ocean-side village. Romantic walks along the ocean and a quaint, quiet town. I was in love – with life and this little town at the time.
Today. It has grown up. The beautiful old mansions that were owned by the rich and famous have now become quaint hotels, bed & breakfast inns or restaurants. Still pretty with a great location right on the water. But it certainly is more commercialized. Chock-a-block stores selling all manor of merchandise from T-shirts to art and kitch to practical. Condos spying on that lovely little path along the water. No place to steal a kiss anymore. But it was fun to walk around town and try to figure out where & how things ‘used to be’. Having said all this, it is still a fun place to visit and come back to, and maybe stay a few days.
It is also the gateway to one of America’s most popular parks – Acadia National Park with its 27 mile scenic loop road. It’s also famous for whale watching as whales make their way from Greenland to the Caribbean Sea. As a matter of fact, the only whale I saw on this whole cruise was here in Bar Harbor. It was a statue on shore at the port!! Oh well. Maybe next time.
Enroute to Boston I had one of my famous, or now infamous “cabin parties”. Take a small cabin – add nibblies, alcohol – bring a drink or a glass – whatever you have, add a bunch of fun people, sitting on the bed, out on the balcony if the weather permits, or just standing around and you have a cabin party!! A recipe for fun!
Our next port was Boston, Massachusetts, cradle of the American Revolution and one of the oldest cities in the US. Boston was founded by Puritan settlers from England in 1630 and has been the scene of such key events as the American Revolution, the Boston tea party, Bunker Hill, and the Boston massacre. Its rich history attract hordes of tourists, with Faneuil Hall alone attracting over 20 million visitors per year.
Betty & Tom, Jim & Phil and I decided just to wander around town and follow the cobblestone and brick pathway of the Freedom Trail. It walks you by all the famous buildings and monuments to Boston’s rich history. Super idea for a city to do. And a donkey – we spent a lot of time with the donkey!! We had a lot of laughs, topped off by a really nice lunch in one of the many restaurants before heading back to the ship.
Then suddenly it was our last port, New York City. What a great place to end a fabulous cruise. My dear friend Chris Burstow flew in from Toronto to join us and we all had a wonderful weekend even though now we were somewhat going our own ways. Jim & Phil and Chris & I were in The Elements Hotel just off Times Square. Betty & Tom were staying in a friend’s apartment, and Pat & Marsha were staying at the Kimberly Hotel. We bought Hop-on Hop-off bus tickets and spent the next few days travelling around the city in wonderful warm weather on the top of the big red buses. MOMA was closed for renovations, but Chris & I went to the Met so Chris could see yet another Caravaggio and have her picture taken with it. Friday night Jim & Phil went to see Billy Joel and they said it was great. There was a big UN meeting on while we were there, so traffic was heavy as was security and many streets around the UN were closed off. Tom had made reservations for lunch at Jean Georges – the four star Michelin restaurant in the Trump Hotel overlooking Central Park and it was special – delicious food and fabulous company.
Saturday night Jim & Phil and Chris and I went to see Moulin Rouge. We tried to buy tickets at the regular kiosk and only found $1000 tickets or nothing. So we decided to walk over to the box office and see if they had any ‘rush’ seats. Luckily we got four tickets. Jim & Phil sat apart up in the mezzanine, while Chris and I got two seats together practically on the stage, but it was great and our tickets only cost $99. And what a show it was. Full of life and energy and great music. The set itself was amazing and the costumes were somewhat risqué and colourful. We all LOVED IT! Then we met Betty & Tom afterwards for a late dinner. They had been to see Come From Away – the touching Newfoundland story about how the tiny town of Gander looked after all the people from the flights that were displaced during 9/11. It’s those great Maritimers again.
Sunday we all met and took the HOHO bus all over town. Got off the bus and got on the Statin Island ferry for a sail in the harbour past the Statue of Liberty. We had lunch on a terrace at the ferry station overlooking the water and NYC, then hopped back on the ferry, walked over to the 9/11 Memorial and made our way back to our hotel. That evening we had dinner at Carmine’s, an Italian family-style eatery which was fun and loud with lots of laughs and good eats. Pat & Marsha did their own thing, saw Carole King’s ‘Beautiful’ and had a good visit with Marsha’s cousin. Too soon it was Monday and time to think about going home. Before that though, Chris & I met Pat and we had lunch at her hotel.
I was surprised on this visit, it’s been a few years since my last visit to New York, to find so many homeless people begging and sleeping in the streets again. But it didn’t deter from the great weekend we had, sightseeing, shopping, art galleries, eating, broadway shows – all the things one goes to New York to see and do.
We were blessed with good weather for the whole trip from Iceland to NYC, and it was great to spend time with so many of our good cruising buddies – there were eleven of us on board this time. I found Iceland and Greenland most interesting to visit. I would go back again. And of course, Canada’s maritimes are very special also and I will definitely go back there. I want to drive down one of these days and spend a lot of time meandering in all our Atlantic provinces.