Two weeks ago 36 people from this area left home to enjoy a relaxing cruise. What I love about cruises is that you unpack your suitcase and stay put. When the cruise is done you throw everything back in and head home.
Although I had been to the area before, I went along to be with friends. It was good to get away after my grueling summer. The trip was a no-fly one with bus transportation taking us to and from Cape Liberty, the port opposite New York City.
It was a close call on our way to the ship. We encountered an accident (not us) and a lot of construction allowing us to board with little or no interruption. The rest of the people on the cruise were already at their muster stations with their life preservers when we were boarding so we missed that drill.
There were seasoned cruisers and first time cruisers on this trip that was sponsored by the Allegheny Community Center. While I do not frequent the center often, I join the center to partake in the trips. We know that what we pay for each trip benefits the center so we do not complain. The trips are still reasonable.
The first day was spent at sea. The ship provided many activities for people to participate in including health and fitness time. My roommate and I took advantage of the nice walking/jogging track on the open deck. The wind blew us around one corner and provided resistance walking at the other end.
The highlight of the day was spotting a pair of dolphins playing in the water alongside the ship. We heard them before we saw them. What a treat to see them wild and free as they should be, just enjoying the surf and playing!
Although this was billed as a "leaf peepers" cruise the foliage that we left at home was superior to any we saw. They told us their peak was possibly a week away, but it looked to us like their leaves were falling before they turned color.
The first port of call was Portland, Maine. When you cruise you have a choice of excursions you can take at all of the ports of call or you can just stay on board. We took the tour of Portland along with a trip to Kennebunkport. The weather was sunny and warm. When I was in this area years ago we were not allowed to go to Kennebunkport so it was a treat to finally get there. We experienced a local deli eating our soup and blueberry pie at a small table outdoors. I am pretty sure that will be the last picnic lunch I have this year.
Then, it was on to Bar Harbor. Bar Harbor is a quaint little town with lots of shops. We headed to Acadia National Park. The day was crisp and clear. We had a wonderful view of Cadillac Mountain. The last time I was in the area we saw it but it was raining. Lunch was at Jordan Pond House in the park. The popovers with strawberry jam were wonderful.
Please bear in mind that other travelers took other excursions. There was a group that went out to the L.L. Bean store while we were in Portland.
When we went into Canada we lost an hour of sleep. Our excursion met on the dock at 7 a.m. so we had a rather short night. We went to the little town of St. Andrews. It was a typical small town with lots of specialty shops. I bought a sample of some candy that was manufactured there to bring home. We also had tickets to board a pink double decker bus to tour around the city. Since time was short we only got to experience one of the routes that was available.
The next Canadian port was Halifax. That city made many improvements since my last visit. We visited a small fishing village with a year-round population of sixty people. It was a picturesque little village. We were there with about ten busloads of people so you can imagine how crowded it was. Four of us had an early lunch and we were happy we did. We would not have gotten served if we waited. While the others enjoyed lobster rolls I opted for the gingerbread and lemon sauce that our trip escort highly recommended. It was delicious. I guess I will have to make some of my own gingerbread now that I am home so the family can enjoy it. That is a treat I remember my grandmother making often. We ate it with whipped cream, lemon sauce, or warm applesauce. All of them were very good.
Before we boarded the ship we walked along their new boardwalk all the way to their historic district.
The last part of call was Boston. We visited Harvard walking on the campus. Our group went to the Lexington and Concord battlefields. When you see where history took place you have a better fell for it. The night we were in Boston 25-30 foot waves were forecast. They kept us in the bay for an extra few hours. We rocked a little but no too badly.
The trip was mostly uneventful except for some minor annoyances. The people next to us had their commode overflow when it lost its vacuum (clean water, thank goodness). Then there were the ladies who kept magnetizing their keys so they had to go to the desk to have them reset.
A good time was had by all. When is the next big trip, Margaret?
Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell, PA. Contact at email@example.com