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For centuries, a native Iroquois village occupied the cliff-top site of what is now Quebec City. The first permanent European settlement began in 1608 when Samuel de Champlain established a fur trading post. By 1663, New France had become a royal province, administered by a council appointed directly by the crown and answerable to the king’s council in France. Long-brewing European struggles between England and France spilled over into the colonies, prompting the construction of Quebec’s formidable fortifications. The Seven Years War put an end to French reign and left the city in English hands. The English successfully warded off an American attack in 1775, and for the next century Quebec quietly earned its livelihood as a center for shipbuilding and timber trade.
By 1840, when it was declared the provincial capital of Lower Canada, the accessible supplies of timber had run out. The final blow came with the appearance of steamships that could travel as far as Montreal, while sailing ships found it difficult to proceed beyond Quebec City. Losing its importance as a major port, the city experienced a decline but remained a center of small industry and local government. Later years saw a tremendous rise as tourism made use of Quebec’s fantastic location and appearance. Being Canada’s most historic city and the only walled city in North America earned it the classification of World Heritage Treasure by UNESCO in 1985. Today, the visitor is greeted by an authentic, profoundly French city, where 95% of its half million people are French-speaking. Both parts of the city – Haute-Ville and Basse-Ville (Upper and Lower Town) – feature winding, cobbled streets flanked by 17th- and 18th-century stone houses and churches, graceful parks and squares and countless monuments. Croissants and steaming cups of coffee at sidewalk cafés conjure images and aromas of Paris.
Great emphasis has been placed on Quebec nationalism; as a result the city has become a symbol of the glory of French heritage. The motto “Je me souviens” (I remember) is inscribed above the entrance to the Parliament Building and on the license plates of Quebec cars. As you come ashore, endless pleasures await you in this marvelous city.
The gateway to the Saguenay Fjord, the city lies at the intersection of a triad of sprawling national parks, amid some of North America’s most impressive scenery. Embark on adventures to witness leaping waterfalls, forest-clad fjord banks, and whales crashing athletically offshore. Learn more of Saguenay’s heritage, with a tour of the picturesque pulp mill, which dates back to the 1800s, and now houses a museum. Elsewhere the Petite Maison Blanche is a humble wooden house that was one of the few buildings to survive the floods of 1947. View less
It’s the expansive scenery of Fjord-du-Saguenay National Park that draws most visitors to this part of Northern Quebec, however, and you can venture out to immerse yourself in the immense Ice Age fjord’s national park, as it gouges through a spectacular 60-mile route, before unloading into the St. Lawrence River. Said to be the Northern Hemisphere’s most southerly fjord – and one of the world’s longest – it’s 270 metres deep in parts, and towered over by steep, scenic slopes. Get out to meet the area’s varied wildlife – which ranges from moose and wolves to orcas, belugas and blue whales. Sail on the surface in kayaks, or take a sightseeing cruise. Earthy trails invite you to hike in the fresh air, among fragrant pine needles, while daring strung bridges, mountain bike routes, and climbable rock faces cater to the adventurous. Secluded rocky beaches and rejuvenating spas offer a more relaxed way to experience Saguenay’s charms.
Set on the rugged, windswept shores of the Saint Lawrence River in the south of Quebec lies the province of Gaspé. Like much of the surrounding region, Gaspé offers outstanding scenery, hundreds of colonies of Northern Ganets and colourful cottages perched upon rocky outposts. But, aside from the exquisite natural beauty that is commonplace in the region, Gaspé is much like its neighbours. View less
It’s claim to fame is that it is named “the birthplace of Canada” as French explorer Jacques Cartier landed here on his voyage across the Atlantic in 1534. However, it is the four national parks that are found within the Gaspé peninsula that sets it apart from the crowd. The parks, including Bonaventure-Island-and-Percé-Rock and Forillon National Park (the latter of which is found entirely within Gaspé’s borders) preserve the wild beauty of its coast, and features various geological formations and phenomena dating up to 450 million years old. Carved out of the sea, cliffs and mountains, the miles of majestic landscapes are like no other place on earth. Anyone lucky enough to visit during fall will rejoice at the spectrum of colour. The famous pierced rock at Percé is another bucket list sight that should not be missed. As one of the world’s largest and most spectacular natural arches (approximate age 375 million years old), the pierced rock is one of the icons of Canadian tourism. An added attraction, particularly if you are a birder, is that the rock is a nesting place for cormorants, kittiwakes and seagulls.
A city that thrives on a diet of music, outdoor events and ocean-faring history, Nova Scotia’s capital – and Atlantic Canada’s largest conurbation – oozes salt-licked charm. The star-shaped fortress of Halifax Citadel sits above the city, while down below, Halifax revolves around its bustling harbour. Here, jet-skis skid across the water and heritage ships jaunt out to scenic offshore islands. Music carries on the waterfront’s breeze as summer’s events play out, while a hefty population of pubs and restaurants provides all the space required for sitting back and relaxing. View less
The shorefront boardwalk invites you on a gentle stroll along the waves, wandering back through Halifax’s history. The Canadian Museum of Immigration waits at Pier 21 and was the doorway to a country of opportunity for so many – with over a million immigrants taking their first footsteps into Canada here. The pier’s wooden boards are dotted with cafes, craft shops and artist studios. Sail deeper into seafaring heritage at the maritime museum. As the closest city to the sinking of the Titanic, recovered victims were transported to – and many were buried – in Halifax. The story, and items from the doomed vessel, are displayed in the museum’s collection. Peggy’s Cove lighthouse is nearby, and this immaculate little lighthouse is one of Canada’s favourite, watching out stoically over the Atlantic’s waves. With rich pickings available from its coastal location, the fruits of the sea are served up in the fryers of Halifax’s varied restaurants – try seared scallops and juicy mussels. Round off any meal with a buttery blueberry grunt dessert – delicious when served up warm with a dollop of melting vanilla ice cream.
One of the first spots in the USA to see the first slivers of honey-coloured light each morning, Bar Harbor was the escape of choice for the elite and artistic during the 19th century. They flocked here to indulge in cool, salty sea breezes and sweeping coastal scenery, and left behind a scattering of elaborate, soft-hued mansions in their wakes. Nowadays, many of these ornate structures have discovered a new lease of life, transforming into quirky cute shops and restaurants, and helping downtown to hum with its effortless, easygoing charm.
Get to know Bar Harbor with a wander along Shore Path, taking the looping stroll out along the bay, and spotting the Porcupine Islands emerging from the Atlantic’s waves. But why would you just look at those cresting waves, when you can kayak between them, or sail with colossal humpback whales throwing their weight around? Bar Harbor is all about getting tactile with the amazing nature on your doorstep, and whether it’s biking, rock climbing or sailing, there’s an activity for every inclination here. The 27 miles of Park Loop Road will be the guiding path for your explorations of Acadia National Park, leading you to crumbling oceanside cliﬀs, evergreen mountains and perched lighthouses. Hike to your heart’s content, visiting sites like the explosive Thunder Hole, where the Atlantic rages, smashes and booms against rocks. You can also see the multi-coloured beaks of puffins flashing in the sun. Afterwards, refuel with an unforgettable, New England–style lobster roll, as you toast the day’s exploits and adventures with ice-cold, Maine craft beers.
Historic yet revolutionary, few places embody the American dream quite as well as Boston – and you’ll feel the strong independent streak, and pride in the founding ideals of freedom and independence wherever you go. Skyscrapers mingle harmoniously with cobbled streets, and every footstep here promises new tales of legend, daring and valour, as you walk through the pages of history and immerse yourself in the stories of one of the USA’s oldest cities.
The flashing colours of Fall – a period when the foliage around Boston explodes with blazes of red, orange and purple – attract visitors from across the world, more than compensating for the northerly city’s harsh winters. Green open spaces like Boston Public Garden also decorate the city, offering breathing space, and the chance to enjoy blossom-perfumed sanctuary,as you sit among scampering squirrels and quiet boating lakes. At times, Boston feels like an open-air history museum, and the Freedom Trail links together the city’s many valuable historic sites. It’s no exaggeration to say that the world’s history pivoted significantly on this humble two-and-a-half-mile trail. Wander across incendiary sites like the Boston Massacre Site, and Bunker Hill – where the first shots of the American Revolutionary War were fired, eventually leading to independence from British rule. Fenway Park is the cathedral-like home of Boston’s famous Red Sox, and a must visit for any sports fan. You’ll also find plenty of acclaimed New England seafood to sample, including famous buttery clam chowder. Restaurants in the thriving Seaport District serve up freshly harvested crab and lobster, accompanied by spectacular views of the crashing Atlantic waves.
A prime slice of New England coastline, Newport serves up colonial splendour, striking seascapes, and some of the freshest seafood around. One of America’s most historic cities, drop in on the oldest library in the country, visit an incredible fortress city, and wander beside spectacular summer houses. With wild beaches, wineries, breweries and festivals for every season, Newport has lost none of its enticing allure. View less
The fresh, ocean air of Newport was much sought after during the Gilded Age, as the rich and powerful made their mark, building grand and stately mansions overlooking the waves. These magnificent houses – and landscaped gardens – add whitewash grandeur to the beautiful stretch of coastline. Take the 3.5-mile coastal walk, out across rugged cliffs with birds calling out, and wildflowers dotting the path. Be warned that the walk does become a little more difficult as it progresses. Stroll the coast, and sit to watch surfers catching Atlantic rollers, or take the twists and turns of Newport’s incredible ocean drive, to soak in the wonderful views by road. Laced with underground tunnels, Fort Adams is Newport’s sprawling complex military fortress. Surrounded by Fort Adams State Park, you can enjoy the relaxed surroundings, absorbing scenic views of the harbour and Narragansett Bay. Unpack a picknick on the grass, as the swells of music carry on the sea breeze – especially during the annual folk and jazz festivals. Or try great Newport seafood in the bustling eateries of repurposed wharves – serving up Rhode Island specials like steamed lobster and clams.
The city comprises the central island of Manhattan along with four other boroughs: Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island. To many, Manhattan is New York. The 22-square-mile island is divided into the three districts of Downtown, Midtown and Upper Manhattan. There are countless museums, theaters, restaurants and parks. Many residents never get to see it all in a lifetime, so don’t expect to take it all in during one visit.
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