"Man this is living!"
Vermont | Maine | Philadelphia| Massachusetts | Connecticut
First Stop- Stowe, Vermont
Rating- 3 paw prints
Just about 45 minutes east of Burlington
Things to do: Vermont Teddy Bear Factory "near Burlington" (lots of nifty clothes for bears). Most of the bears are cute but the ones you make yourself are not quite so cute. Just buy a ready made one. The tour is good fun. Lots of great shops and galleries in Stowe. They also have a nice movie theatre. In the winter there is skiing and in summer hiking and biking.
Things you must do because Alistair Bear says so: Visit the Trapp Family Lodge. They have a nice Tea Room where we had some nice pastries. I like the lemon tart but the Black Forest Cake as real good too. If you stay there they show a film in the evening and twice a week there is an hour long sing song with Rosemarie Von Trapp (the Captain and Maria's daughter). And you guessed it, we sang just about every song from The Sound of Music. Nice gift shop and dining room.
Rosemarie Von Trapp
Places to eat: Trapp Family Tea House
Places to stay: Trapp Family Lodge
Next Stop- Camden, Maine (Wow! What a gorgeous spot)
Rating- 5 paw prints
Alistair & Sue
Camden from Mt. Battie
Things to do: Walk around the waterfront area, walk around town, breathe in the sea air. Man what a gorgeous place.
Alistair Bear thinks it's the prettiest town in America. Take a drive to Boothbay Harbour. Lots of shops and restaurants.
Things you must do because Alistair Bear says so: Take the drive (or walk) up Mt. Battie. A photograph does not capture it believe me. You can see for miles in every direction and a nicer view you'll not find anywhere. Don't forget to drive out to Owl's Head Lighthouse. Also visit the library it's beautiful inside.
Interesting things:Did you know the following films were made here?
Peyton Place (starring Hope Lange)
Man Without A Face (starring Mel Gibson)
Casper (starring Bill Pulman)
Hunt for Red October (starring Sean Connery)
Murder She Wrote (opening scenes)
Places to eat: The Village Restaurant
Places to stay: Captain Swift Inn
Winner of Alistair's Best B&B in North America
Great location, great rooms, great breakfast, great hosts and it's affordable.
Full handicapped facilities.
Next Stop - Philadelphia (Nothing says America like Pennsylvania!)
"I see dead people!"
(Church used in the film "Sixth Sense")
Things to do in Philly:
Day 1- You've had breakfast right? Good because it's going to be a hectic day. Spend the morning at theAtwater Kent Museum on 7 St between Chestnut and Market. I'll bet you didn't know the Stetson Cowboy Hat was invented in Philly, these things and more you will learn about. Afterwards cross the street and visit the Graft House where Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, allow about 40 minutes. Next go to the brand new National Liberty Museum (much better than I expected) . The Portrait Art Museum is across the road so you can visit there also. Now carry on down toward the Delaware River and spend the afternoon at the Independence Seaport Museum. Why not catch dinner at the world famous Bookbinders (I really enjoyed it here). There are a few little clubs nearby if you fancy a drink later on.
Day 2 - You better allow a whole week here, no other city has so much to do. For starters go up the elevator at City Hall for a great view of the city. It will give you your bearings. Now head down to 3 Street and Arch and tour the Betsy Ross House (where the first American flag was sewn). Head up Arch and turn right on 4 Street and go about two blocks, on your left is the church in the picture above (it's not open). Back down 4 Street to Arch and go up to 5 Street and go on a tour of the U. S. Mint (lots of shiny coins, Alistair couldn't carry as many as he would have liked). By now it's lunchtime but if you were smart you stopped at the little deli/grocery store by Betsy's House and packed yourself a little lunch so on we go. After leaving the Mint turn left down 5 Street to Market Street. Time for your tour of the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall (see where they signed the Declaration of Independence and the First Constitution). You might just have time to head to the Polish American Cultural Centre (I bet you didn't know Chopin, Madame Curie and the current Pope were Polish did you?), this small museum is at 308 Walnut Street. You are probably tired but why not grab a little dinner and a nice drink at the Continental Restaurant & Martini Bar on 2nd Street and Market.
Day 3 - Grab the trolley tour at any of the convenient tourist sites, they allow you to buy a day pass and hop on and off. Start early as your first stop to get off today is the Rodin Museum, home of the wonderful Rodin sculptures (the famous "Thinker" is here). Then walk over to thePhiladelphia Museum of Art. Easily the best art museum in the world (Yes it's better than the MET, the Louvre, The National Gallery in London....it's the best, period). Allow a minimum of 4 hours. Did I say this is the best art museum in the world? A thump on the head to them though as they wouldn't allow the "Rocky" statue on their steps because they said it wasn't art. You will have a hard time in their modern art section calling any of that art, they must have much better drugs than me to see any value in that crap. Sorry guys, if I can't EVER paint or sculpt then it it's art, if I can make it in 5 minutes it's not art. Avoid that section although some of it may be better than Paul MaCartney's paintings (sorry Paul, stick with the music). Grab some food in their museum cafe if nothing else to rest your feet, who are threatening to leave you for someone more kind. Then pick up the trolley (gift shop side of the museum) and continue the tour past the old State Fair area and zoo.
If you have a spare day and missed going up City Hall go back and do that. Don't miss the tour across the street of the Masonic Temple (a real treat and highlight).
Things you must do because Alistair Bear says so: If nothing else do the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, Mason Temple and National Liberty Museum.
Things to do nearby:Peddler's Village (in the town of Lahaska - a bit hard to find) is a nice 1/2 day of shopping and then you can drive to the Washington Crossing Historic Park (Do the film and the full tour). It's quite an interesting story of that fateful Christmas Eve. If you have a spare day you could do the drive to Gettysburg and if you dare perhaps stay the night (I'm not brave enough, too many ghosts from the battlefield).
Places to stay:In Philly stay at the Holiday Inn ((Independence Mall), best located hotel I've ever stay in.
Next Stop- Mystic, Connecticut (Home of the world's greatest pizza)
Mystic Seaport Oct 26, 1999
Rating- 4.5 paw prints
Things to do: Wander around the many shops in the old part of town or visit the huge shopping gallery at Old Mystic Village
Things you must do because Alistair Bear says so:Spend the day at Mystic Seaport (allow 7 hours). Afterwards grab a pizza at "Mystic Pizza" which truly is the best pizza in the world.
Interesting things:Did you know the following films were made here?
Mystic Pizza(Starring Julia Roberts)
Amistad(Starring Anthony Hopkins)
Places to eat:Mystic Pizza
Places to stay:Comfort Inn (reasonable and 5 minutes by car to the Mystic Seaport)
Next Stop:Rockport, Massachusetts (about 1/2 hour drive from Salem)
Things to do in Rockport:Discover the wonderful shops and galleries on main street and around Bearskin Neck. Everyone is friendly and it's a beautiful place. You can also go whale watching. Allow 1 full day if you also want to go Whale Watching.
Places to stay:Well I can tell you where not to stay. The Linden Tree Inn has the worst service of any B&B in the world. Avoid it!
Next Stop:Stockbridge, Massachusetts (Wow, did I enjoy this little treasure)
Alistair Bear as "Rockwell""
Didn't know Alistair was an artist did you?
Things you must do:It's worth the trip to spend a 1/2 day at the Norman Rockwell Museum. If you don't think Mr. Rockwell is not one of America's greatest treasures they you haven't seen his original paintings. Visit his studio and tour the wonderful museum. Nice gift shop too but no refreshments (sorry!). Then head to main street in Stockbridge and check out the shops and restaurants. You can see where Norman's first studio was (it was then over a butcher shop which is now a gift shop).
Places to stay:Well it's not in my budget but the Red Lion Inn looks very nice and was a favourite haunt of Mr. Rockwell.
Alistair hopes you enjoyed his visit to New England
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