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: 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!