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OPINION: From Perry Hall, to New England and Canada

Follow the path of a Patch columnist as he and his wife journey at sea.

The past week was a bit of a whirlwind, as my wife Patty and I were staying aboard the Queen Mary 2, as part of an eight-day voyage that departed from New York City’s Brooklyn Cruise Terminal.  I thought that readers of the Perry Hall Patch might enjoy a travelogue of this journey, which has included stops in:  Newport, Rhode Island; Boston, Massachusetts; Bar Harbor, Maine; Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada; and Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

My wife and I chose to commemorate the occasion of our fifteenth wedding anniversary with this special excursion.  Since our honeymoon trip back in August 1997 had been to Montreal and Quebec City in Canada, we thought it would be nice to return to our neighbor to the north these many years later. 

The ship itself was nothing short of remarkable.  It was quite apparent that the Queen Mary 2 was designed to not simply be a cruise ship … in reality she is truly a great transatlantic ocean liner.  In the tradition of such renowned Cunard Lines ships like the Lusitania, Mauretania, and the two Queens – Mary and Elizabeth – the Queen Mary 2 serves as a tribute to sterling service delivered amidst a luxurious but tasteful background.

Our various ports of call warrant special attention, as each offered the two of us some wonderful experiences and memorable sights to behold.

1.  Newport, Rhode Island

Newport is best known as the summer playground for wealthy American families from the Gilded Age, such as the Vanderbilts, the Astors, and the Wideners.  Homes referred to by these folks as mere “cottages” are actually immense marble mansions running along Bellevue Avenue.  One of the most famous of these is The Breakers – a beautiful villa perched atop a cliff overlooking Newport Harbor.

2.  Boston, Massachusetts

Our second port of call was a city well-known to us as well as to many others.  Boston holds a special place in American history, given it was the site of many crucial events associated with the Revolutionary War.  For those who haven’t been to Boston before, I strongly recommend that your first stop should be the Freedom Trail.  This interpretative American landmark, under the auspices of the U.S. National Park Service, offers visitors a walking tour of such important sites like Fanueil Hall, the Old Massachusetts State House, Old North Church, and various burial grounds where figures like Paul Revere, John Hancock, and Samuel Adams lie in repose.

3.  Bar Harbor, Maine

This coastal seaport, home to around 5,000 individuals, is truly a hidden gem.  The town itself boasts numerous restaurants, where folks can order up a Maine specialty – the lobster roll.  Additionally, nearby Acadia National Park is a site to behold, with the views from atop Cadillac Mountain (the highest coastal point on the east coast) second to none.

4.  Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada

This mid-sized city located on the Bay of Fundy was principally settled by Loyalists from our own Revolutionary War.  In 1783, at the close of the war, just about 5,000 colonists who had remained loyal to the crown during the war fled to Saint John and started new lives.  They found a fine land, with a great harbor, known today for its dramatic tidal events – high and low tide result in water level chances of roughly 30 – 40 feet.

5.  Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Halifax is also blessed with one of the largest natural harbors on the east coast.  This city has a special connection to one of the liners of old, the R.M.S. Titanic.  After the tragic loss of the flagship of the White Star Line in April 1912, vessels from Halifax went to sea and recovered the bodies of the dead.  One hundred and twenty-one individuals were buried in Fairview Cemetery, one of the main graveyards in the city.  In addition to this spot, visitors to Halifax often visit the fishing village of Peggy’s Cove, home today to 38 people principally engaged in fishing for lobster.

One constant throughout our journey were the great people we have had the fortune of meeting.  Our evenings were spent dining with charming new friends, like Bob and Grace Maloney from the Jackson Heights neighborhood of Queens, New York.  Every day we met wonderful natives of our different ports of call, who were only too happy to share their love for their respective home towns.  In guess things across the eastern seaboard aren’t so different from here at home in Perry Hall … good people can truly be found everywhere!

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