Aiming for American East Coast in Fall 2021


Looking back on 2020, a dark year for digital nomads …

Since January 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic has been disrupting lives, upsetting habits and shaking up projects … Of course, we have not escaped this drastic life change. Gradually, the masks covered our smiles, our social interactions shrank and the borders of the world closed on our dreams. A great sadness for the full-time travelers that we are! However, while we were not prepared to take up the challenge of an almost sedentary lifestyle, adapting to the situation was not difficult, and adopting the new saving barrier gestures was obvious from which it never occurred to us to deviate. Very selfishly, the most disappointing thing for us was surely to delay our great overland trip to Asia until 2022. A detail in the face of the human tragedies lived every day, every minute…

After several weeks of strict confinement spent in our motorhome in Avignon, we get back on the road again in July 2020, first in France, then in Switzerland where for three months, we traveled the country, encouraged by the partnership with My Switzerland / Suisse Tourisme. And since mid-December 2020, we are now in Roses, Spain. Always with the aim of limiting our social interactions and respecting local guidelines, we discover the region only on foot and by bike and return to sleep in our motohome at night.


A little hope for fall 2021… and a new project!

But because we are optimistic, because we hope after the vaccination campaign, travel will be possible again, because the tourism sector, cruelly impacted by the pandemic, will need all its support, because it will be necessary to restore confidence to seniors and encourage them to recover the paths of the world, and simply because the demon of discovery calls us again, we are already working on a new project, a three month trip to the east coast of North America, from the northern United States to the Bahamas.

If the sanitary conditions allow it, it will therefore be a journey combining cultural and natural discoveries, well suited to the active seniors that we are, which will not make us cross the planet at full speed, nor multiply the destinations … Because, faithful to our principles, we prefer to focus on targeted and limited steps. Our motto: better to see less, but to see it well!

As we are slow travel enthusiasts, and wishing to minimize our carbon footprint, we will avoid any plane journey. Long-distance trips will be by train, bus and boat, and local routes by rental car, as we did during the Great North and Central America Tour in 2018/2019.


Our challenge: crossing the Atlantic Ocean without flying!

Always in the spirit of favoring slow travel, it is by boat that we hope to reach the American continent, then, at the end of our stay, return to Europe. We have already had our first Atlantic crossing aboard the Queen Mary 2, in September 2018, and repeating the experience of a cruise totally enchants us. Even if these big liners are not always virtuous in terms of ecology, we have hardly any other alternative to the plane. Indeed, hoping to cross the Atlantic in a pedal boat, sailboat or even freighter-hitchhiking would be totally illusory, unless you call yourself Greta Thunberg …

Choosing to take the sea to cross ocean also means opting for the comfort of a trip without the shock of jet lag, a significant advantage for us. Day after day, it is the best way to appropriate your own journey, and to let yourself slowly slide towards the final stopover, the one that marks the beginning of the land journey – or the return at home, depending on the direction of navigation ! – without to have had the sensation of being brutally propelled at high speed into another environment, another culture… In short, an Atlantic crossing, it’s a journey in the journey which, in itself, justifies the trip!

As part of our trip to the East Coast of America for fall 2021, we have selected the following Transatlantic, subject to Covid-19 sanitary conditions permitting:

WESTBOUND CRUISE TO AMERICA

  • Ocean Cruise offers a North Atlantic Transatlantic departure from Amsterdam, the Netherlands, on September 6, 2021 aboard the Insignia, a superb ship on a human scale, combining charm and luxury, in a refined and intimate atmosphere. During the 15-day crossing, 5 ports of call are planned in Belgium (1), France (2), Portugal (1) and Bermuda (1) before arriving in New York on September 20, 2021. Traveling on board Insignia is the guarantee of a successful cruise, while enjoying Premium service and an exceptional table!

EASTBOUND CRUISE TO EUROPE

  • Cunard company is the only one to offer a crossing on the dates that suit us. This is not to displease us, because cruising a new transatlantic aboard the mythical Queen Mary 2 will be a real delight. The departure will be from New York on December 3, 2021, and arrive 7 days later in Southampton, on December 10, after a non-stop crossing of the Atlantic. Traveling aboard this exceptional ship means going back in time and rediscovering for a week the atmosphere of old liners, while enjoying luxury and contemporary refinement, with attentive staff. …  An unforgettable experience!

PLANNED ROUTE

We planned to divide this trip into three main parts:

  • A three-week road trip in New England, through three States: Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire. The main focus will be on discovering the natural heritage, and we have planned many hikes, especially on foot, and sometimes by bike.
  • A stay of three weeks in New York, to perfect our knowledge of the city, but especially to spend time with my daughter who lives there and whom we have not seen for 18 months because of the pandemic.
  • A three-week discovery of the Bahamas archipelago, with a stay on the islands of New Providence and Grand Bahama, as well as a catamaran cruise to the Exumas Islands. Here again, we will focus on outings in the natural environment – land and sea – but also know the traditions and daily life of Bahamians.

See below for details of the visits planned for each step


NEW ENGLAND | NEW YORK | BAHAMAS


UNITED STATES – Road trip in New England …

If the exact dates of our future trip are still uncertain, we have however already established a possible itinerary, with a first loop of four weeks in New England passing through Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire.

For us, visiting this region means both browsing an exceptional natural landscape, suitable to hiking, but also transporting us, the time of a trip, in the history of the country and following in the footsteps of the pilgrims of the 17th century come here to seek a better world. Indeed, how can we forget that New England, from the end of the 18th century to the middle of the 19th century, dominated the country on the three major points of politics, culture and economy?

As it will be impossible for us to discover every corner of the region in such a short time, we have chosen to select only two to three steps in each of the states. Thus, we hope to better understand our two favorite axes which are the natural heritage on the one hand, and the historical and cultural heritage on the other.


MAINE | NEW HAMPSHIRE | MASSACHUSETTS


MAINE

Renowned for its large wooded areas and low urbanization, Maine was – in the 17th century when settlers arrived – bitterly disputed by the English – founders of Nova Scotia – and the French – founders of Acadia. Finally, the province joined the young American nation in 1820, thus putting an end to the quarrels of the Europeans!

From September 28 to October 4, 2021, subject to Covid-19 sanitary conditions permitting.

  • PORTLAND
    • From September 28 to September 30, 2021
    • Accommodation: 2 nights, to be defined
    • Historic town center discovery, Portland City Hall, Downtown Arts District, Victoria Mansion (outside), Wadsworth-Longfellow House (outside), Old Port, Portland Fish Market & Clam chowder gastronomy experience, Fort Williams Park, Portland Head Light
  • ALONG the COAST between PORTLAND & ACADIA NATIONAL PARK
    • Bath, Boothbay Harbor (+ view from McKown Hill), Rockland, Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse
  • ACADIA NATIONAL PARK
    • From September 30 to October 4, 2021
    • Accommodation: 4 nights, to be defined
    • Park Loop Road (1), Wild Gardens of Acadia & Sieur de Monts Nature Center, walk Homans and Emery Path, hiking Great Head trail + Ocean Path, from Sand Beach to Otter Point, walk Bar Island trail
    • Park Loop Road (2), Cadillac Mountain (car access), hiking Nature Trail around Jordan Pond + South Bubble & North Bubble Trail, Bar Harbor village discovery
    • Toward Mt Desert, small walks Bass Harbor Head Light Trail + Wonderland trail +Ship Harbor Trail (+eventually Flying Mountain trail)
  • ON THE WAY back to PORTLAND
    • Augusta

See our day-to-day program on the map below


NEW HAMPSHIRE

On the map of the United States, New Hampshire does not look very big! However, this state offers varied landscapes and offers a beautiful range of sporting and cultural activities, whether in Portsmouth, on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee, or even towards the sumptuous White Mountains.

From October 4 to October 11, 2021, subject to Covid-19 sanitary conditions permitting.

  • PORTSMOUTH
    • From October 4 to October 6, 2021
    • Accommodation: 2 nights, to be defined
    • Historic town center discovery, Market Square, Memorial Bridge, Prescott Park, Point of Graves Burial Ground, Walk on Peirce Island, North Shoreline trail + South End Loop Trail
    • Strawbery Banke Museum, Walk on Black Heritage trail
  • WHITE MOUNTAINS
    • From October 6 to October 9, 2021
    • Accommodation: 3 nights, to be defined
    • Hiking Flume Gorge trail & Basin Cascade Trail
    • Cog Railway to Mount Washington for panoramic point of view, hiking Mount Willard Trail, small walks Crawford Notch State Park
    • Kancamagus Highway, Sabbaday Falls, hiking Champney Brook Trail and continue to Mount Chocorua

See our day-to-day program on the map below


MASSACHUSETTS

As we have already visited Boston for a whole week in September 2018, we do not plan to return there, and prefer to discover new places, such as the Cape Cod region, and that of Cape Ann, two destinations that particularly attracted us by the richness of their tourist offer.

From November 9 to November 17, 2021, subject to Covid-19 sanitary conditions permitting. For both practical and personal reasons related to the organization of the other legs of our trip, it should be noted that this trip to Massachusetts does not take place successively with our road trip in Maine and New Hampshire.

  • WEST CAP COD
    • From November 9 to November 12, 2021
    • Accommodation: 3 nights, to be defined, ideally Autocamp Cape Cod, a very original green concept, well suited to seniors and very comfortable (Classic Airstream Suite, Premium Airstream Suite or Vista Airstream Suite)
    • SANDWICH, village, boardwalk, beach, Cap Cod canal Railway bridge
    • FALMOUTH, Shining Sea Bikeway (20 miles return from County Rd, North Falmouth to Woods Hole, rental bike Arts Bike Shop), on the way Bourne Farm & Salt Pond, Highfield Hall & Gardens & Nobska Lighthouse
  • EAST CAP COD (2)
    • From November 14 to November 16, 2021
    • Accommodation: 2 nights, to be defined, ideally Harbor Hotel Provincetown, directly on the beach, excellent value for money
    • PROVINCETOWN, city discovery, Pilgrim monument, Art museum, hiking Long Point & Wood End Lighthouse, walk Race Point Beach, hiking Hatches Harbor Trail, Herring Cove Beach & Dune Shacks of Peaked Hill Bars Historic District, hiking Pilgrim Spring trail

See our day-to-day program on the map below


UNITED STATES – NEW YORK

If we have already been to New York several times, it is a city that we find each time with a particular emotion. First, because my daughter has lived and worked there for a few years now … It will therefore be an opportunity for family reunion that have been awaited for many months, due to the pandemic. Then, if we have already visited the most famous attractions, now we want to go in search of the hidden gems of Big Apple. In no particular order, we have listed some ideas for walks and visits:

  • Taking some nature walks like Prospect Park Loop in Brooklyn, Forest Park Loop in Queens or Hudson River Greenway from Battery Park to Riverside Park
  • Admiring the Skyline from the Liberty State Park
  • Walking around Governors Island
  • Taking the Roosevelt Island cable car and have a look to the ruins of the smallpox hospital
  • Visiting Chelsea’s painting galleries
  • Taking street art photos in Bushwick, Brooklyn
  • Strolling around Astoria and Ditmars in Queens, and have lunch at Taverna Kyclades, our favorite Greek restaurant
  • Coming back to the MET without forget to visit the Cloisters Museum
  • Walking in the sand at Rockaway Beach
  • Exploring Lower Manhattan and specifically Stone Street
  • Walking around the Columbia University campus
  • Have dumpling lunch in Chinatown
  • Spending a few hours at the Morgan Library
  • Playing Mini Golf at Pier 25
  • Testing the particular acoustics of the Whispering Gallery in Grand Central
  • Discovering the flavors of Spanish Harlem
  • Walking in the footsteps of Charles Aznavour and Liza Minnelli and go behind the scenes at Carnegie Hall
  • Photographing The Vessel from all angles

From September 20, 2021 to September 28, 2021 & from November 17, 2021 to December 3, 2021, subject to Covid-19 sanitary conditions permitting


BAHAMAS

Initially, the Bahamas was not a destination that particularly attracted us because in our subconscious, the country was mostly synonymous with casinos and mass tourism. However, by reading several travel guides and blogs, we understood that the archipelago offers many possibilities for nature outings, both on land and at sea, but without neglecting the various programs intended to discover the culture, traditions or Bahamian gastronomy again. Exactly the travel goals we’re looking for!

From October 14 to November 2, 2021 (or November 4 depending on the transport option chosen to return to the continent), subject to Covid-19 sanitary conditions permitting


How to reach the Bahamas from New York without flying?

Faithful to our habits and to our desire to favor slow travel, it is out of the question for us to reach the Bahamas by plane! Yes, it may sound strange, but we are tempted to repeat the long-distance train experience already tested on our trip from Los Angeles to Chicago on the Southwest Chief. From New York or from anywhere, two options are then possible:

  • OPTION 1 – by TRAIN & FERRY
  • New York <=> Fort Lauderdale rail link, operated by Amtrak with Silver Service / Palmetto. Seat / private room, restaurant, wifi. Trip duration varies between 26:30 and 30:30, depending on the time and day of departure.
    • Train 97 Silver Meteor – NY Penn station 3.15pm => Fort Lauderdale 5.43pm (D+1)
    • Train 92 Silver Star – Fort Lauderdale 12.30pm => NY Penn Station 6.50pm (D+1)
  • In both directions, plan a hotel night in Fort Lauderdale
  • Fort Lauderdale, Port Everglade <=> Freeport, Grand Bahama maritime link, operated by Balearia. Seat (economy class & 1st class), restaurant, wifi. There is currently only two scheduled weekly connections on Thursday and on Sunday in both directions. Trip duration is about 4h. It can be assumed that after the pandemic, rotations will again be more frequent.
    • Fort Lauderdale 9am => Freeport 1pm
    • Freeport 5pm=> Fort Lauderdale 9pm
  • OPTION 2 – by CRUISE SHIP (+ possibly TRAIN depending on the departure / arrival port of the cruise)
  • Several cruise lines offer trips from New York, Baltimore, Miami or Jacksonville. Unfortunately, in all cases, this is a loop and not a one-way ticket. A priori, it is possible to embark or disembark « en route » if we warn the company beforehand, and of course if we pay the entire cruise. Nevertheless, the offer can be interesting if we want to avoid long train hours, take advantage of unplanned stopovers in our initial trip or not suffer from irregular local ferry connections. We have identified a cruise that could meet our expectations, mainly in the Bahamas / USA direction. Indeed, our last legs being in Nassau, opting for this formula would avoid us a long ferry transfer to reach the continent and above all would allow us to discover two beautiful destinations not included in our program:

Ideally, it would be better for us to combine the two options with a one-way ferry and a cruise back.


What, only three islands on the program?

Although we do not yet have the exact dates for our trip to the Bahamas as it depends on our choice of travel option, we plan to explore « only » three islands: New Providence, Grand Bahama and the Exumas. Indeed, rather than running from one destination to another, we prefer to properly explore each of them. On the other hand, the ferries between the islands being random, it is better to avoid adding the local maritime connections!


GRAND BAHAMA

See our day-to-day program on the map below

  • Official tourism organization:
  • Ferry / mailboat transfer from Grand Bahama to New Providence (schedule to be confirmed)
    • FREEPORT, Thursday 10am => NASSAU, Thursday 11pm
    • Information & booking on Bahamas Ferry

NEW PROVIDENCE

  • NASSAU CABLE BEACH2nd stay after catamaran cruise
    • Snorkelling and walking in Clifton Heritage National Park
    • Full day at Atlantis Paradise Island to discover Marine Habitat (The Dig & Ruins Lagoon, Royal Ray Lagoon, Dolphin Cay, Mayan Temple Shark Lagoon, Cenote, Predator Lagoon, Water’s Edge Lagoon, Estuary Lagoon, Reef Lagoon, Stingray Lagoon, Hibiscus Lagoon, Seagrapes Lagoon), Versailles Gardens and French Cloister and Cabbage Beach
    • Discovery of Sandals Royal Bahamian resort, water sports & beach activities

See our day-to-day program on the map below

  • Official tourism organization:
  • Ferry / mailboat transfer from New Providence to Grand Bahama (schedule to be confirmed)
    • NASSAU, Wednesday 4pm => FREEPORT, Thursday 6am

THE EXUMAS ARCHIPELAGO

  • CATAMARAN CRUISE
    • From October 23 to October 30, 2021
    • Exumas Cruise organised by Dream Yacht Charter, 8 Days / 7 nights (Saturday to Saturday) »By The Cabin Charter » is a concept that allows for a cruise in the Exumas aboard a luxury catamaran, enjoying the comfort of a cabin with private bathroom, while benefiting from advantageous financial conditions. Ipanema 58 catamaran with crewed, only 6 cabins, 12 passengers. Included full board, drinks and water sports on board. Non included Cash box (mandatory, per person to be paid in cash on spot upon arrival, in USD) for the payment of taxes in national parks, tourist and disembarkation taxes in the islands and mooring costs
    • Highborne Cay – Allen’s Cay & iguanas / Highborn Cay, snorkeling and beach
    • Warderick Wells Cay – Exumas Marine and Terrestrial Park, hiking trails, summit of Boo Boo Hill, snorkeling
    • Staniel Cay – Big Major Beach, swimming pigs, Thunderball cave snorkeling, Staniel Cay village visit
    • Shroud Cay – Mangrove discovery by kayak, lagoon swimming
    • Norman’s Cay – Plane wreck diving, visit to the ruins of the 1980s drug cartel, spear fishing for fish and lobster, beach walk to see shells & sea urchins

See our day-to-day program on the map below