Day 1: New York
Arrive in New York City, America’s premier city and greatest attraction. Transfer to your hotel in Midtown Manhattan, conveniently located within minutes of Times Square, the Broadway Theaters, Rockefeller Center, Fifth Avenue and Central Park.
Day 2: New York – New Haven – Mystic – Newport (195 m / 315 km)
Begin your journey this morning with a drive along the Hudson River to the northernmost tip of Manhattan, where you can make a quick photo stop at the Cloisters in Fort Tryon Park. This area of Manhattan is as peaceful and undeveloped as downtown Manhattan is crowded and overbuilt, and you’ll have superb views of both the Hudson River and of Manhattan’s only remaining primordial forest, in Inwood Park. Continue north to the state of Connecticut and Mystic Seaport. Mystic has been a shipbuilding community since the 1600s, and the Seaport recreates life in a 19th Century seaside village, with tall ships, a working shipyard, shops, stores, and buildings typical of a New England maritime town. Afterwards, drive to Newport, an important colonial port city in the 1700s that became a summer resort for America’s wealthiest families. The large mansions they called their “cottages” still line Ocean Drive and Bellevue Avenue, and many are open to visitors daily. A variety of American architecture dating back to the 1600s can be seen in downtown Newport.
Day 3: Newport (Rhode Island) – Cape Cod (75 m / 120 km)
Depart at your leisure for Cape Cod. With fishing villages, artists’ homes, and over 500 km of sandy beaches, Cape Cod is New England’s summertime playground. You can visit picturesque villages on your way to colorful Provincetown at the tip of Cape Cod, then spend some time relaxing among the sand dunes at Cape Cod National Seashore. Or, take a ferry from Hyannis for a day trip to the resort islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.
Day 4: Cape Cod – Plymouth - Boston (75 m / 120 km)
Depart for Plymouth, Massachusetts, the first successful settlement in New England. Founded in 1620 by the Puritan Pilgrims after their voyage on the Mayflower, it was in Plymouth that the first Thanksgiving holiday was celebrated. Plimoth Plantation, a living history museum, recreates the life of the Pilgrims and their Wamponoag Indian neighbors. Arrive in historic Boston, the “Cradle of the American Revolution” and New England’s principal city. Founded in 1630 by English Puritans, Boston quickly became colonial New England’s largest seaport and remains its cultural and political capital. Get oriented on the Freedom Trail, a self-guided walking tour of historic Boston’s most important revolutionary sites and events.
Day 5: Boston – Salem – Western Massachusetts (100 m / 160 km)
Begin your day with a journey northward to visit Salem, home of the notorious witch trials of 1692, and visit the Salem Witch Museum, where a multimedia presentation (available in English, French, German, Spanish and Italian) retraces the hysteria of the time. Salem became one of America’s major seaports until the end of the age of sailing, and the fine homes of sea captains and merchants line the streets. The Peabody Essex Museum, an important collection of Maritime Art, History and American Decorative Arts, includes wonderful ornate figureheads that once graced the bows of tall clipper ships. From Salem, head west to Sturbridge and Olde Sturbridge Village, a living history museum recreating life in rural New England in the late 1700 and early 1800. The buildings are authentic, and costumed interpreters go about their work using traditional methods of the period.
Day 6: Western Massachussetts – Hudson River Valley / Poughkeepsie (125 m / 200 km)
This morning, visit Stockbridge, Massachusetts, the quintessential New England town. It was here that Norman Rockwell had his studio and painted nostalgic scenes of American life in a simpler time. His paintings still resonate with many Americans, and a trip to the Norman Rockwell museum offers an interesting insight into how Americans view themselves. Continue on into New York State and the Hudson River Valley to Rhinebeck. From here, head south to visit two of the more important mansions that New York’s wealthy aristocracy built along the Hudson River: Springwood, lifelong home of Franklin D. Roosevelt, and the Vanderbilt Mansion. Or, make a detour for the Catskill Mountains and Woodstock, long an artists’ colony before the 1960 festival made it famous.
Day 7: Poughkeepsie – Hudson River Valley / West Point (40 m / 65 km)
Drive south along the western riverbank into the Hudson Highlands, where the Hudson River narrows and winds its way through the Appalachian Mountains. A scenic drive along the Storm King Highway brings you to West Point, now home to the US Military Academy (tours available from the Visitor Center). Experience the beautiful Thayer Hotel set on the ground of the Academy, and learn the story of West Point’s origins and its role in the Revolutionary War, along with stories about graduates who shaped our nation, and trace the footsteps of famous military heroes from the past and present. Have a stop at the Woodbury Common Premium Outlets, which offers 220 stores, featuring the world’s largest collection of upscale designer and name-brand shops.
Day 8: West Point – New York (60 m / 100 km)
Continue south along the eastern bank of the river to Sleepy Hollow and Philipsburg Manor, once the center of a large Dutch estate, now preserved as an outdoor museum, from where you can also take a tour of Kykuit, the Hudson River mansion of the Rockefeller family. Finally, cross the Tappan Zee bridge to the Palisades Parkway, then stay close to the river for the best views of the Manhattan skyline. Return to Manhattan for additional nights, or to continue to the airport for your return flight home.
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