Day 1 - Gather at London Heathrow airport to board our Virgin Atlantic flight direct to Boston, where we will arrive in the early evening. We will be met by our professional tour manager and then transferred by coach to our hotel, the Best Western Royal Plaza hotel, Marlborough. Located around one hour from central Boston this large spacious hotel makes the perfect base for 4 nights.
Day 2 - Boston City Tour:
In the morning we will enjoy a guided tour of Boston: one of America’s most photogenic cities which has a fine, European ambience and wonderfully rich history. With picturesque cobblestone streets (which are lit by Victorian gas lamps at nightfall), this historic city is graced by beautifully preserved Victorian and Georgian buildings, and many churches and celebrated monuments which commemorate the nation’s history, including the American Revolution and the Anti-Slavery Movement. If you wish, you can take advantage of our optional whale watching cruise from Boston Harbour, in search of the magnificent hump-backed whale. The afternoon will be free for you to explore the city’s many other attractions, shops and restaurants (which are within a compact area), perhaps enjoying a leisurely stroll around the pedestrianised boardwalks or taking a charming trolley bus tour of the old district. There will be time for you to enjoy dinner in a traditional Boston restaurant if you wish, before we return to our hotel.
Day 3 - Cape Cod:
After breakfast we begin our fabulous, whole day tour of Cape Cod, Massachusetts: a long peninsular which is one of the most popular beach locations in New England, with many miles of unspoiled sandy beaches and protected sand dunes, quaint lighthouses, historic towns and picturesque fishing villages. Cape Cod is renowned for its natural beauty, with abundant wildlife and activities which include environmentally-friendly whale watching. We will visit lovely Chatham, where there is a picturesque lighthouse and the famous ‘Fish Pier’, giving great views of the beach and the Atlantic Ocean beyond. We will then visit the historic port of Hyannis, a pretty harbour town and the unofficial ‘Capital of the Cape’ and gateway to Nantucket Island and Martha’s Vineyard. There will be time for an optional dinner in Hyannis, which boasts a good choice of restaurants, before continuing our journey to our hotel where we should arrive around 9pm.
Day 4 - Newport and Ocean Drive Tour:
Today we travel to Newport, Rhode Island, known as ‘America’s First Resort’ and home to many magnificent, ocean front mansions displaying the gilded opulence of a bygone age. The palatial estates, restored period houses, churches, museums, unique culture and sheer natural beauty of Rhode Island make it an unforgettable location. Make sure you have your cameras at the ready when we take the ‘Ocean Drive’ tour, which offers spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean and the seafront ‘Millionaire’s Row’ mansions! You may like to take advantage of our optional visit to The Breakers: a 70 roomed palazzo, which was inspired by sixteenth century Italian Renaissance palaces, and built from1893-95 by the famous Vanderbilt family. In the early afternoon we will continue to the Wrentham Village Premium Outlet for two great hours of shopping before we return for our final night at the Best Western Royal Plaza hotel.
Day 5 - The Battlefields of Lexington and The Salem Witches:
After breakfast, we leave the Boston area and begin a whole day tour of some of the fascinating locations which shaped early American history. We will travel to the sites of the battles of 19 April 1775 at Lexington and Concord, which marked the outbreak of war between British North America and the Kingdom of Great Britain. This was the start of the American Revolutionary War, also known as the American War of Independence. Ralph Waldo Emerson described the first shot as the ‘shot heard ‘round the world’, illustrating the importance of the war in world history. In the afternoon we will visit Salem, the ‘Witch Capital of the World’, which was infamous for its seventeenth century trials, when nineteen men and women were convicted of witchcraft and met their end on Gallows Hill, near the village. Many hundreds of innocent people were also accused of witchcaft and languished in jail, when it is possible that ergot-infected bread was eaten by the villagers, giving rise to strange symptoms which were thought to be supernatural. Anyone who denounced the witch hunt risked becoming its victim, as the persecutions gathered pace. By the autumn of 1692, however, doubts about the judgements were emerging and the witch hunt ended. Later, we will head into the state of Maine and travel to our next hotel: the lovely Ogunquit River Plantation hotel: a peaceful, countryside lodging, for the first of a two night stay.
Day 6 - The Coast of Maine:
We’ll take breakfast at an authentic Pancake and Wafflehouse, then we will travel north to Portland: a charming old seaboard town with a picturesque historic quarter as well as vibrant city areas with many galleries, boutiques and restaurants serving New England specialities and fresh, mouth-watering Maine seafood. Portland is also a working seaport and one of America’s largest fishing ports. Later, we will return south to the enchanting oceanside resort of Kennebunkport, on the banks of the picturesque Kennebunk River. Kennebunkport is a top American resort and President George H. Bush spent many summers here, often inviting world leaders as his guests. You will be free to enjoy the resort as you wish – and with unique gift shops, beautiful beaches and tranquil walks, sailing excursions and whale watching, there is a choice of things to see and do.
Day 7 - The Fall Foliage of New Hampshire and Vermont:
Today we will leave the Ogunquit River Plantation hotel and travel West through New Hampshire into the beautiful state of Vermont and the Green Mountains, an area considered to be the best for viewing the colours of the Fall, when the green, maple-covered hills assume the glorious golds and radiant reds of the changing season. We will stop for a while at Quechee Gorge, which is known as Vermont’s ‘Little Grand Canyon’. The Gorge is the longest and most famous gorge in the state, with a greatest depth of 165 feet and a length of one mile. The Ottauquechee River flows down through the gorge, creating pretty cascades along the wild, scenic valley. Then it is on to Woodstock, a charming town which was first settled in 1768 and named after Woodstock in Oxfordshire, England. It is now noted for its pristine architecture, with restored Georgian, Federal Style and Classical houses. Later, we will travel to the Holiday Inn Rutland hotel, for the first of a three night stay.
Day 8 - The Fall Foliage and Stowe:
After breakfast, we will travel north to Montpelier, Vermont, situated among the rolling foothills to the east of the Green Mountains. Montpelier is the smallest state capital in America, dating from 1787, and it was named after the French city in celebration of French support during the American Revolution. Here, we will visit the Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks. The ancestors of the Morse family were shown how to tap maple trees by native Americans. At the rustic farm you can tour the works and taste samples of syrup if you wish.
We will continue to picturesque Stowe, a neatly kept, relaxed little town with a pretty white-steepled church and quintessential New England feel. Most of the shops and eateries here are situated conveniently on the main road through the town. Then we will enjoy a tour of Ben and Jerry’s super ice cream factory, which is situated on a green pasture near the town of Waterbury. And there is no better way to round off an enjoyable day, than a visit to the Cold Hollow Cider Mill: one of the foremost producers of Fresh Apple Cider in the whole of New England. Here, you can see cider being made by traditional rack and cloth press; sample lots of goodies like jelly, apple sauce and fudge; watch bees making honey (safely behind glass) in the honey corner; browse the speciality goods on sale in the retail store; or have a bite to eat at the Doughnut Counter.
Day 9 - Lake Champlain Cruise:
Today we will visit Burlington: a small city which blends the cosmopolitan flair of a welcoming tourist location with scenic beauty and a shimmering lake. You may like to take a leisurely stroll around the Church Street Marketplace, which is an award-winning mall with street performers, boutiques, shops and restaurants; while outdoor activities here range from lovely walks to sailing and cycling.
Later, we will board the cruiser Spirit of Ethan Allen III for a scenic narrated cruise on beautiful Lake Champlain, the largest freshwater lake in the USA. (after the five Great Lakes), and a very sought-after holiday destination. With breathtaking panoramas of the majestic Adirondack and Green Mountain ranges from the Lake, we will also keep a look out for Champ, the lake’s friendly monster!
Day 10 - Boston and Our Return Flight:
After breakfast, we will leave the Holiday Inn Rutland and return to Boston for more great shopping. Newbury Street is an eight block stretch with shops catering for every taste; you will find stylish bargains in pedestrian-friendly Downtown Crossing near Boston Common, and historic Faneuil Hall Marketplace (also called Quincy Market) is home to souvenir shops, quaint stores and a great food court. Later, we will transfer to Boston Logan airport, and saying farewell to lovely New England, we will take our return flight homewards.
Day 11 - After an overnight flight we will land at London Heathrow airport at around 7.20am. Passengers with onward connections should please transfer to the appropriate terminal for your flight home.