Enjoy a hearty home-cooked meal with an Amish family in Ohio, a unique opportunity to get to know people from a misunderstood and mythologised culture.. Scratch a big one off the bucket list with a day trip to Niagara Falls.. Both the USA and Canada can be overwhelming for travellers, so this trip balances scheduled sightseeing with plenty of free time for you to relax or explore at your own pace.. Explore the quaint and quintessentially New England town of Stowe, a tiny town surrounded by thick forest that changes colour with the seasons.
Allow us to introduce Canada and America, you might have heard of them. Enjoy the sights of the Midwest and the North as you drive through scenic countryside and quaint towns. Feel the spray on your face at the thundering Niagara Falls, wander cobblestone alleyways in Old Montreal, enjoy a Chicago-style hotdog in the Windy City and have a meal with an Amish family in Berlin, Ohio. With this 11-day tour, you and North America will be best buds in no time.
Breakfast Included: 5 Lunches Included: Dinner Included: 1
Welcome to Chicago, USA, the first official stop on your North American adventure. Kick things off with a welcome meeting at 6 pm at the hotel. If you arrive with time to spare, perhaps explore the Lakefront Trail that connects some of Lake Michigan’s parks and beaches. In the evening, settle into your hotel in downtown Chicago. You’ll be up bright and early tomorrow, but if you’re eager to hit the town you can ask your leader for recommendations on where to grab a slice of the Windy City’s famous deep-dish pizza.
In the morning the trip starts with a long drive, usually around 7 hours, to the heart of Amish country – Berlin, Ohio. Berlin is part of the largest Amish settlement in the world and travelling here offers a unique opportunity to learn about the traditions and religious beliefs held by those in the community. Depending on the day of the week, you'll visit a local home for a hearty and wholesome dinner, or breakfast tomorrow morning. Dinner consists of homemade bread, baked chicken, vegetables, salad, pie, beverages and more, while breakfast is scrambled eggs, has browns, sausage, cinnamon rolls, homemade bread, fruit slushees, biscuits and sausage gravy! Your hosts are a local family who will dine with you, so you’ll have the chance to learn there is more to being Amish than eschewing technology.
From Amish country to a bustling metropolis, make the drive to Toronto (approximately 6 hours). On the way, scratch a big one off the bucket list with a visit to Niagara Falls. Take a tour of the falls from dry land before grabbing a raincoat and heading out on an optional ‘Maid of the Mist’ boat ride. There are numerous viewpoints from which you can appreciate the power of this amazing set of falls, but there's no better way to approach them than from the water. This activity is not included in your trip price, but it is highly recommended. Continue to Toronto and spend the night as you wish. Maybe head to a bar for a Canadian Old Fashioned – that’s the classic cocktail made with maple syrup instead of the usual sugar.
Today, join your leader on an afternoon walking tour through Kensington Market, one of the city’s most colourful and multicultural neighbourhoods. Pound the pavement and experience the history, culture and individuality of the area. The rest of your time today is free, so why not ask your leader for help deciding what to do. Perhaps take in the views from the CN Tower or catch a Blue Jays baseball game (in season). If you feel like dining for a cause, you could grab a few of your fellow travellers and make your way to Hawthorne Food & Drink, a restaurant and social enterprise that offers free training and development to those in search of skills and employment.
The Canadian capital awaits, so hit the road for Ottawa (approximately 5 hours). Upon arrival you have the rest of the afternoon to explore this city. Architecture (or politics) enthusiasts may want to check out Parliament Hill, where you can wander over grassy knolls beneath the towering Gothic Revival-style buildings for free. If old buildings and government machinations aren’t your thing, another option is the four-block shopping hub that makes up the ByWard Market. Food stalls, cafes and restaurants aplenty are on offer in this busy square. Be aware that as one of Ottawa’s biggest tourist attractions, the market is busy all day, every day. Around CAD 20 will gain you entrance to the Canadian Museum of History, a great place to brush up on (or discover) local sagas and past events. The First Peoples Hall is a great place to start, as it explores the endurance and history of the First Nations, Metis and Inuit people.
Bonjour! Make the 2-hour drive to Montreal. Get your bearings in historic Old Montreal with a walking tour led by your leader and take in treasures such as the famous Notre-Dame Basilica, a Gothic Revival-style church with a luminous interior. The evening is free for exploring this compact city at leisure. Promise you won’t leave without trying poutine, a Quebec staple dish of French fries topped with cheese curds and gravy. Ask your leader for advice on where to find the best version.
Today is a free day in Montreal. The old town is a must-see and rambling the cobblestone streets is a great way to spend a couple of hours. For lunch perhaps try the famous pastrami sandwiches at Schwarz's Deli, or relax over a long brunch at Beauty's Luncheonette. If you're feeling active, hike up Mont Royal and capture the cityscape from the Kondiaronk Lookout. Tonight, possibly head to O. Noir restaurant for dinner. Staffed by blind waiters, diners eat in complete darkness and part of the profits from the restaurant goes to support local associations.
In the morning, head south and back across the border into the USA on your way to Stowe (approximately 3 hours). Stop en route at the picturesque Lake Champlain to stretch your legs. A bit further down the road is the Ben and Jerry's Factory, where you'll take a tour and try some ice cream. Depending on time and traffic, you may also stop at a chocolate factory, a cheesemaker's or a maple syrup farm before arriving into the archetypal Vermont mountain town of Stowe. Here you have a free afternoon and evening to explore your surrounds.
Enjoy a free day in Stowe to soak up the fresh New England air. There are no activities planned, but you can pick and choose from a range of optional activities. Chat to your leader about a trip to the Von Trapp Family Lodge (once home to the family made famous by The Sound of Music), a gondola ride to the top of Mt Mansfield or a short hike in the Green Mountains.
If you can make it there, you’ll make it anywhere, and make it there you will (after a 5- to 6-hour drive). Arrive in the late afternoon and begin exploring NYC. With an included Metrocard in hand and some guidance from your leader, you'll be set to take a bite from the Big Apple with the evening free to do as you wish. If you’ve got the energy, why not embrace the madness of Times Square and have a wander with a New York slice in hand?
Your trip comes to an end today with no scheduled activities on the books. If you’re staying on in New York, why not get under the city’s skin with an Urban Adventure. Find out more at www.urbanadventures.com/destination/new-york-tours. If you’re looking for a sedate way to ease into life in NYC, perhaps one of the city’s many museums is more up your alley. Both the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art (don’t get them confused!) are worth the cover charge.