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Few places in North America are as steeped in history as Québec City, Canada. Older than Jamestown and founded before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, it is the only city north of Mexico whose original fortifications remain intact. The Québec City historic district, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is still home to religious orders and hospitals that date back to the 17th century. Its Place-Royale would look familiar to the explorer Samuel de Champlain, even with its modern attractions of gift shops and cafés. On the Plains of Abraham, you can walk the battlefield where, in 1759, the French forces under General Montcalm were decisively trounced by the British, led by General Wolfe.
The British took control of all of New France within a year of that 1759 battle, but even so French culture still lives on here in Québec City. More than 95 percent of Québec City’s population speaks French as its first language, though it’s easy to sightsee and navigate the city in English. As you tour the museums and historic sights of Québec City that celebrate Québecois history and dine at restaurants that serve its distinctive cuisine, you’ll discover a remarkable culture that has survived and thrived into the 21st century.
Baie-Comeau is beautifully located on the banks of the Mancouagan and Saint Lawrence Rivers. Stroll the lovely quartier Sainte-Amélie. Learn about regional wildlife at the Maison de la Faune. Or visit the new Centré Boréal, a fascinating Glacier Center where visitors can walk through a manmade glacier, experiencing its temperature, sound and movement.
Located on the north shore of Québec’s Saint Lawrence River, Havre-Saint-Pierre offers panoramic views and miles of sandy beaches. It is the gateway to the Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve, home to abundant wildlife and limestone monoliths, sculpted over the millennia by the elements.
Corner Brook, a small but bustling city, is on Newfoundland’s west coast. Captain Cook initially mapped this area, known as the Bay of Islands, in 1767, and like many other Newfoundland settlements, Corner Brook started out as a fishing village. Later, one of the largest pulp and paper mills in the world was built here.
In the city’s downtown core, West Street and Broadway are the center of action, thanks to numerous pubs, shops and restaurants. The local university has renowned fine-arts and drama programs, so you’re never too far from entertainment. Corner Brook also has an impressive amount of green space—you’re always within walking distance of a park or trail. Nearby Humber Valley and the Marble Mountain offer some of the best skiing in Atlantic Canada, a big enticement for outdoor-adventure junkies. Even if you’d prefer to just take in the scenery, the rolling green mountains and the views overlooking the bay are worth the trip.
The scenic waters off St. Anthony are known as Iceberg Alley, offering the largest concentration of icebergs in Newfoundland and spectacular whale watching. Sample shore excursions: Icebergs & Whales; L anse Aux Meadows A Viking Tour.
At the easternmost gateway to North America, come ashore in the snug, landlocked harbor to discover a land the Norsemen visited five centuries before Columbus. See fishing villages perched on cliffs, visit the lovely Botanical Gardens.
Located on a rocky inlet on the Atlantic Ocean, Halifax—Nova Scotia’s provincial capital—is defined by its maritime geography. It’s a spirited mix of world-class history and nautical-themed museums alongside bunkers and fortresses that guarded the harbor, plus striking public art and sights, funky shops and excellent pubs serving up folk music (and good pints).
Explore the Halifax waterfront where steamships once anchored to drop off arriving immigrants at Pier 21. Savor the low-key but classy culinary scene for fresh seafood and Nova Scotia specialties—the city has both street vendors and casual joints catering to university students and upscale eateries with elegant settings. Along Nova Scotia’s southern shores, the city is surrounded by lush greenery and charming villages that are worth the trip from downtown proper. Snap photos of attractions in the charming fishing village, Peggy’s Cove, with its picturesque lighthouse on a rocky outcropping. Or wander the streets of Lunenburg, whose colorful Old Town is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can also soak in the charms and sights of Mahone Bay, home to artists’ studios and a trio of steepled churches.
New England’s largest city, Boston, Massachusetts, is home to historic sights and modern neighborhoods; stores and restaurants with old-time character; and gracious green spaces as well as a beautiful waterfront. Legendary figures of the American Revolution come alive at buildings and attractions along Boston’s Freedom Trail, including the Paul Revere House and Old South Meeting House, and in Lexington and Concord just outside Boston. Pay homage to great U.S. presidents at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum and in the town of Quincy, birthplace of Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams.
Each of Boston’s neighborhoods has its own personality and things to do, whether you’re enjoying the food of the North End’s Little Italy, admiring the beautiful 19th-century architecture of Beacon Hill or watching the street performers in Cambridge’s Harvard Square. The waterfront offers harbor views, while boat tours allow you to take in the city skyline while sightseeing. In every neighborhood, shopping and dining reveal Boston’s true eclectic self, from casual to high-end, but always interesting.
Finally, Boston is a city of green spaces where you can relax and enjoy the outdoors. The Emerald Necklace, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, is a 445-hectare (1,100-acre) chain of nine linked parks, including the lovely Boston Common and Public Garden.
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