Welcome to Chicago, USA. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. Please ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you’re going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We’ll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. If you arrive early and have time, why not go ice skating in Millenium Park, check out Winter Wonderfest in (December and January), or find a little blues club or comedy club to curl up and have a drink in. If it’s the season, perhaps visit the Christkindlmarket, an excellent traditional German-American Christmas market which runs in November and December. In the evening, settle into your hotel in downtown Chicago.
In the morning the trip starts with a long drive to Berlin, Ohio, which usually takes around seven hours. As part of the largest Amish settlement in the world, Berlin is at the heart of Amish country in Ohio. After checking in to the hotel in the evening, the group will visit a local’s house for dinner tonight. The menu consists of homemade bread, baked chicken, vegetables, salad, pie, beverages and more. This is a unique chance to learn about the hosts, who will also be sat at the table with you.
Today the group will make the six hour journey to Niagara Falls. Once there, take a walk around town, and stop at a couple of different viewpoints to see the falls in action. Winter is a lovely time to see the falls, as the mist and spray blows in the wind and settle to create oddly shaped ice sculptures here and there. Afterwards, enjoy a free evening in Toronto. Perhaps explore dining options in and around Yonge-Dundas square, or check out what’s playing at the Bell Lightbox cinema in the entertainment district.
Today you’ll join a local guide on an Urban Adventure tour. Depending on the time of year this will either be a Hockey in Toronto tour or Kensington Market and Chinatown tour where you’ll explore two of the city’s most colourful and multicultural neighbourhoods. On the walking tour you’ll experience the history, culture and individuality of both of these areas – your guide will also enlighten you with some local stories and intriguing history surrounding Toronto’s Chinatown. With your time in Toronto otherwise free, there are plenty of other activities to enjoy. Maybe visit the Hockey Hall of Fame or go shopping in the PATH underground market.
Drive to Ottawa, the capital city of Canada (approximately 5 hours). In the afternoon, perhaps check out the awesome Gothic parliament building, or visit the National Gallery of Canada or the Canadian Museum of History. Byward Market Square is great for a meal, with quality cuisine from all over the world (don’t miss the beaver-tails – an Ottawa trademark a delicious winter snack). Try your ice staking skills on the Rideau Canal Skateway. Every winter from December to February, 7.8 km (4.8 miles) of the Rideau Canal transforms into the world’s largest outdoor skating rink.
Drive to Montreal (approximately 2.5–3 hours). This is a compact island city, which is great for walking around and exploring the neighbourhoods on foot. In the afternoon you’ll enjoy a walking tour of Old Montreal with a local guide that takes you through the maze of narrow and charming streets with an option to visit the famous Notre-Dame Basilica. Montreal is also home to more than 80 ethnic communities and enjoys an outstanding reputation for gourmet dining. Perhaps head to one of the many restaurants for dinner in the evening.
Today is a free day in Montreal. For lunch perhaps try the famous pastrami sandwiches at Schwarz’s Deli, or relax over a long brunch at Beauty’s Luncheonette. The winter activities on offer are many. The Old Port hosts the Montreal Skating Rink or perhaps visit Mont Royal for some snowshoeing. Alternatively and depending on exact dates check out one of the many winter festivals the city delivers each year; Fete des Neiges de Montreal festival (January & February), Igloofest music festival (January) or Montreal en Lumiere festival (late February). For dinner, the unique O Noir restaurant is a fine choice – it’s a social enterprise with blind waiters in which you eat in the dark, and proceeds go to good local causes.
In the morning, head south and back across the border into the USA on your way to Stowe (approximately 3 hours). En route, stop 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 season, you may also stop at a chocolate factory, cheese-maker’s or a maple syrup farm. There’s a lot to do in Stowe once you arrive: perhaps visit the Von Trapp Family Lodge (this is the family from the Sound of Music); ride the Mount Mansfield gondola; or try some winter activities like sleigh riding or snowshoeing.
Drive to Boston (approximately 4 hours). Enjoy a free afternoon to explore. Perhaps visit the Harvard Campus or take a tour of the Samuel Adams brewery and sample a warming ale. Alternatively, take a stroll around Copley Square for its beautiful historic buildings, such as the French-Romanesque Trinity Church.
Today is a free day to explore Boston, and it’s highly recommended you walk the Freedom Trail. Start at the beginning, middle or end and wind your way through the streets of this very modern city and its historic paths. This is Boston’s indoor/outdoor history museum, with 16 ‘official’ sites to explore. Afterwards, possibly go on a free student-led tour of Harvard University. Tonight, perhaps go for an optional dinner at Union Oyster House, which is reputedly the oldest restaurant in the United States.
In the morning, drive along the Connecticut coastline to New York (approximately 5 hours). Arrive late in the afternoon. With a Metrocard in hand and some guidance from your leader you’ll be set to explore the Big Apple with the evening free to do as you wish. Perhaps take a walk around Times Square and grab yourself a slice a pizza, New York style or head to the Rockefeller Center for a skate on the famous ice rink.
Your US and Canada Discovery adventure comes to an end today. There are no activities planned for the final day and you’re able to depart the accommodation at any time. As there’s a great deal to do in New York City, we recommend staying a few extra days to make the most of this exciting city. If you need help booking extra accommodation (subject to availability), our reservations team will be happy to assist. You should also consider doing our one-day sightseeing tour of New York (urbanadventures.com).
Berlin - Dinner with an Amish family
Toronto - Hockey in Toronto (Seasonal) or Kensington Market & Chinatown Urban Adventure
Old Montreal Walking Tour
Stowe - Snowshoeing (winter only)
Waterbury - Ben and Jerry's Factory Tour
New York - Metrocard