Hiking in Maine

As the largest of the New England states, Maine offers a wide variety of hiking opportunities and options through diverse terrain. We initially planned a four-day backpacking excursion along the Grafton Notch Loop. While the distance itself was not particularly daunting (60km over four days), one thing we (foolishly) did not factor in was the substantial change in elevation. Being located in the White Mountains (key word being mountains) should have tipped us off. Needless to say, we had to re-examine our (not-so) well-thought-out plans.

Cape Cod

Cape Cod (often referred to as just “The Cape”) is a hooked-shaped peninsula off the eastern coast of Massachusetts. Jutting out into the Atlantic ocean, with its abundance of pristine sandy beaches, it’s no surprise that thousands of locals and tourists alike flock here every summer in an effort to beat the heat. With a heat advisory on the forecast for the weekend coupled with the fact that high-season was not quite in full-swing, the timing was just right to visit the Cape.

Salem

Hocus Pocus is one of my all-time favourite movies. Ever. Set in the historic town of Salem, the movie follows a group of kids who inadvertently awake the Sanderson Sisters - a trio of  witches who wreaked havoc hundreds of years ago by sucking the souls out of little children. The kids, along with the help of a talking cat and a friendly zombie named Billy, must defeat the witches by sunrise to prevent the sisters' powers from fully being restored.

Acadia National Park (in the Spring)

Located along the rugged coast in Maine, Acadia National Park offers of variety of trails that weave their way up, down, and around mountains, through lush forests, and along a granite shoreline, all the while providing panoramic glimpses of the lively Atlantic Ocean. We visited Acadia once before last fall after the Labour Day long weekend and had such a wonderful time (with minimal crowds and pleasant weather) so we planned another visit to coincide with the other shoulder season – the spring.

New York City (in the Spring)

They don't call it the city that never sleeps for nothing. With over 8.5 million people, New York City is bursting with culture, class, coolness, and crowds. It has been referred to as many names and nicknames over the years: New Amsterdam, the Big Apple, the Melting Pot, Gotham, NYC, but one thing remains: it is still the land of opportunity. And opportunity to sightsee.

Washington D.C.

Washington D.C. is the capital of the United States. It is home to the entire federal government, including the Congress, the Supreme Court and the President. There are numerous museums and national monuments scattered along the city that highlight the history and important people that helped shape this country into what we see today. Many of these museums and monuments are clustered in an area known as the National Mall - a 2 mile strip that extends from the State Capital building to the Lincoln Memorial. And it's all free.

Cross-Country Skiing in Vermont

Vermont is renowned for its skiing across the New England area. This should come as no surprise given that its name is derived from "mont vert" in French, which translates to green mountain. With over 30 alpine (downhill) and nordic (cross-country) ski centres, there are endless opportunities to enjoy the abundance of snow and mountainous terrain in this Green Mountain State. And hey, if skiing isn't your thing, Vermont is also famous for its cheese, maple syrup and ice cream.

Cross-Country Skiing in the Adirondacks

The first thing that may to come to mind when you hear the word Adirondack might be Adirondack chairs - or as we Canadians like to call them - Muskoka chairs. Located in upstate New York, Adirondack Park spans over 6 million acres and is considered to be the largest park in the Lower 48. It was here in the thick of nature that inspired some dude to design and create the perfect cottage lounging Adirondack chairs.

Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park is located in northwestern Montana along the US-Canada border just south of Waterton Lakes National Park. Together these two parks formed the first ever International Peace Park to better preserve and protect the shared ecosystem along the Continental Divide. Spanning across a million acres, Glacier National Park is home to 25 active glaciers (although scientists estimate they will all disappear by 2030), 71 species of mammals (including the grizzly bear!), and 151 trails (totaling 1,200km). The Going-to-the-Sun Road, the park's only road that cuts through the park, offers exhilarating views as you're winding around, through, and over the mountainous terrain.

Philadelphia

Philadelphia served as the capital of the United States for nearly a decade towards the end of the 18th century. It was here in the Philadelphia State House (more commonly known today as Independence Hall) where both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were vigorously debated and ultimately drafted and signed by the founding forefathers of the United States. It was also here in that same State House where the Declaration of Independence was read out loud to the public for the first time on July 8th 1776. But that wasn't the only "first" for the city of Philadelphia. It is home to the first university, the first zoo, the first art institution, the first hospital, and the first public library in the United States.