Friday & Saturday September 26 & 27

Arcadia National Park

Arcadia National Park

We went ashore by tender (lifeboat) yesterday and spent the last full day of our cruise in “one of the most beautiful places in North America” (according to the experts). Bar Harbour, in Maine, is famous for its stunning summer ‘cottages’ (try ‘mansions’) from America’s Golden Age … its mouth-watering lobster rolls and clam chowders … and its Acadia National Park, with some 200 kms of ocean and mountain trails and oh-so-glorious views.

We saw it all on our half-day tour: from 360º views from the top of Cadillac Mountain, to a trapping demo by a local lobster expert. And, on the way, we eyeballed our first moose (okay, I cannot lie – he was made of bronze) … we got up-close-and-personal with a very live lobster … and we witnessed, finally, some of the gorgeous autumn foliage that attracts ‘leaf-peepers’ from all around the world.

I say ‘finally’ because, as it turned out, we actually arrived a couple of weeks too early: the colours have been largely absent up until this point on our cruise, and we’ve been rather disappointed. But today made up for that, and we were able to aim our cameras at some of the rich yellows and golds and oranges and reds that, by the middle of next month, will set this entire region ablaze.

We woke up this morning aware that our North American adventure has almost come to an end. Sometime during a rather stormy night on the ship, we left Canada behind and entered the USA – arriving soon after breakfast in New England’s largest city: Boston, Massachusetts.

Watch those claws!

Watch those claws!

It’s here (in what is now a huge and elegant metropolis) that the Revolutionary struggle took place which changed the destiny of the United States of America. But Boston, sadly, was not at its best today – smothered in mist and wet with rain. Although, after saying goodbye to the Maasdam and her crew, we still managed to check out the 300-year-old wooden warship, USS Constitution (nicknamed Old Ironsides) … visit Old North Church with its boxed pews … spot the house of revolutionary leader Paul Revere … and grab a quick lunch in one of Boston’s very lively, very crowded, markets.

Tonight, we’ll all be meeting for one final time as a group at McCormick & Schicks (a very posh restaurant) for our Midlife Madness Farewell Dinner – where goodbyes will be said, and hugs will be exchanged, and the more tender-hearted of our Kiwis will probably get all sad and weepy.

We’ve had a BALL in Alaska and Canada. We’ve seen so much, done so much, laughed so much, and made so many great friends … but the time has come to start heading home.

Tomorrow morning, after bidding a fond “See ya later!” to those Kiwis who are extending their holiday, the rest of the gang will transfer to the airport for our Air New Zealand flight (via San Francisco) to Auckland. En route, we’ll lose a day – because we’re flying backwards (if you know how it works). So we’ll probably be Silly Mixed-Up Midlifers by the time we get home. But hey, who cares?

We’ve had a wonderful, once-in-a-lifetime experience … and we’ve got stories and memories and photos to prove it!

Is everybody happy?

You bet your life we are!

Signing off, over’n’out – JOHN

P.S. If following this travel diary has whet YOUR appetite and got you thinking, “Hey, I’D like to go on one of these Mad Midlife adventures!” … click on the TOURS list/logos on the left of this page, and read all about our upcoming schemes and dreams. Or go to our website: http://www.johncooney.co.nz. Or phone our travel colleague and booking agent, Roger Glynan (Lion World Travel) in a week’s time when we’re all back in New Zealand – tollfree 0800 277 477.

P.P.S. You can also follow the ‘blogs’ from some of our previous trips by clicking on the titles under ‘Categories’ (on the left). And remember, if you want a better look at our route map and photos, just click on them and they’ll enlarge – magic!

This entry was posted in 2008 Alaska-Canada by John Cooney. Bookmark the permalink.

About John Cooney

John Cooney and his wife Robyn have enjoyed more than their fair share of travel. They hesitate to call themselves ‘experts’ – but they’ve grabbed every chance that’s come their way to explore new countries, cultures and customs. They’ve had the privilege (both on their own and as the leaders of numerous successful group-tours) to sample many stunning destinations: Europe, the UK, Singapore, Vanuatu, the USA, Israel, Egypt, Africa, Dubai, China, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. And their recent (and most pleasant) memories are of the places ancient-and-modern that border the Mediterranean. John and Robyn are at-home in airports, hotels, cruise ships, and the like … and they know how to make the most of a unique travel opportunity. Travel, they reckon, is an all-five-senses experience – a chance to see, feel, smell, hear and taste the world. And they’ve done it often enough to know for sure: sightseeing with a group of laid-back Kiwis is DOUBLE the fun – lots of laughs, great company, and memories that last forever!


  1. Hi guys … cannot believe you are finished now. For some reason I thought you were still away for longer (maybe got muddled with S & I & J – as they are off on an extended aye.) Have a brilliant trip home .. look forward to a really long in depth yak when you get back. Thanks J for all the blogs .. has been a real treat following your journey, and in such a wonderfully descriptive way (you’re the ‘bomb’) LOL us xx
    Sha … hope the next part of your journey is precious. Love to you all. xx

  2. Hi Aunty Pam

    Only a few days to go now, wow went fast didn’t it. Hope you enjoy the last bit just as much as the first part. Heard from Mum and Dad last night, their trip is nearly over too. They were staying in a b&b for a couple of nights and then heading to Rome. Sounds like they have been all over and seen so many different things.

    It’s meant to be really hot here this weekend and then its the long weekend on Monday. No plans yet but both of us want to go to the beach.

    Spoke to Grandma yesterday, all is well and we have been following your trip on the map.

    Have fun!
    Love Meliss and Rebecc

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