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If I had a dollar for every time someone asked how I wound up traveling through Central Newfoundland, I’d have a tidy little sum piled up in just a few days. Indeed, this region of Canada – part of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador that lies northwest of the port city of St. John’s – tends to get overlooked on tourists’ itineraries in favor of hotspots like Montreal and Quebec City and the more well-known coastal regions of British Columbia.
It’s a destination well worth a trip, though, especially for adventure-seeking travelers, as the area is loaded with off-the-beaten path opportunities for exploration on both land and sea. Hundreds of miles of spectacular hiking trails, boasting unforgettable names like the Squid Jiggers Trail, crisscross the rocky terrain. Tour boats take visitors in search of migrating whales and mighty icebergs.
And, as I discovered from a recent visit, the area is also home to Canada’s version of the Loch Ness Monster: a mysterious, eel-like creature that’s said to live in the murky depths of Lake Crescent.
Proof that Canada’s VIA Rail train is so much more than a basic commuter train? When you disembark, you’ll feel sad saying goodbye to the conductors.
Two of our favorites, who held court in touring class on VIA Rail’s “Skeena” route across mountainous, snow-capped British Columbia, were Patrick and Gilbert. They helped us with our bags, sure, but they also offered historical factoids, let us browse the library of provincial history books that they kept on board, and served wine. Gilbert even brought along flowers from his garden for the curved, vintage caboose car.
All the while, we traveled along the thundering Skeena River from Jasper, just over the British Columbia boarder in Alberta, to the charming coastal town of Prince Rupert. The entertainment, besides Patrick and Gilbert? Hundreds of miles of breathtaking scenery – untouched forest, show-capped mountains, the occasional ancient petroglyph, and the rusting remnants of Skeena River canneries. Read more
I’ve recently returned (and am still recovering) from several days in Keystone, Colorado, for the 2012 Travel Bloggers Exchange. This is the third year for this growing gathering of travel enthusiasts, from travel bloggers (such as yours truly) to tourism bureaus eager to spread the word about their destinations.
Not surprisingly, a common topic during the weekend was the explosion of adventure travel – as well as where the next hotspots are. Here, a few expert picks for places to put on your adventure travel bucket list.
Grab a friend and board Amtrak’s Adirondack Line for a long weekend getaway in Montreal, Canada’s capital of culture. Buy two round-trip tickets from New York City starting at $189 – 25 percent off seasonal rates. This discounted rate is available for travel in September.
The Adirondack Line provides service between New York City’s Penn Station and Montreal’s Central Station. This scenic ride glides along the Hudson River, making stops at some of Upstate New York’s most charming riverside towns. After a stop in Albany, the train continues on through the stunning Adirondack Mountains before crossing the Canadian border into Quebec.
September serves as an ideal time to visit Montreal with average temperatures hovering around a comfortable 70 degrees. The end of September also marks the beginning of Canada’s fall foliage.
This summer, fly to Canada on Porter Airlines with one-way flights starting from just $67. These rates slash up to half on current airline pricing and include all taxes and fees. Enjoy ideal summer temperatures in Toronto, along with restaurants, art, and nightlife in one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world. Or, fly to Montreal, where you can experience the unique French-Canadian heritage along with the famous Montreal International Jazz Festival from June 28-July 7.
Sample one-way fares from the U.S. to Canada:
- New York City (Newark)–Toronto: $67
- Boston–Toronto: $73
- Chicago–Toronto: $89
- Washington, D.C.–Toronto: $89
- New York City (Newark)–Montreal: $125
- Boston–Montreal: $162
Book fast, because this sale ends Friday, June 1. Travel is valid from June 14-September 3. Book online at the Porter Airlines website and enter the promo code AIR.
See our Canada destination guide for more trip-planning information.
My globetrotting ambitions should have been clear to my parents when at age 13 I chose as my bat mitzvah theme “Around the World with Liz.” The place cards looked like miniature passports, and each table represented a different country. Now that I’m twice as old as I was when I was called to read from the Torah for the first time, I decided to look back on that fateful day and count off how many of those “tables” I’ve actually visited:
We’ve all read the doom and gloom surveys: Americans are less likely to travel this summer because of the high price of gas, the state of the economy, or maybe because Venus is in retrograde (can’t be too careful with your horoscope). It seems hotels have read these surveys, too, and have devised ways to entice you to stay by footing part of your gas bill or even doling out cold hard cash.
Perhaps the most generous offer comes from InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG), which will give you a $75 prepaid MasterCard for every stay of two consecutive weekend nights (Friday-Sunday) through September 3. You will have to wait 6-8 weeks to receive the gift card, but the deal applies to all IHG brands, from InterContinental to Holiday Inn.
Those who aren’t afraid of heights are invited to walk in a group of six around the 5-foot wide ledge. While there is no handrail, you are strapped into a harness while you gaze at downtown Toronto and Lake Ontario, 1,168 feet below.
The entire tour is an hour and a half, with the outdoor walk lasting 30 minutes. In addition to a huge dose of adrenaline, visitors receive a keepsake video, photos, certificate of achievement, and a Total Tower Experience Ticket (which includes access to the Look Out, Glass Floor, Sky Pod, movie, and motion theater ride). Tickets are $175 CAD (US$176).
Take-off to Toronto, our neighbor-to-the-north’s largest metropolis, during peak season for less. Fly round-trip to Ontario, Canada’s capital from select U.S. cities now through September 5 and slash 40% off seasonal rates. This deal from Porter Airlines, named an Official 4-Star Airline by Skytrax, ends Thursday, April 4. Some of the lowest fares, which factor in all taxes and fees, include departures from:
Most large carriers fly to Toronto’s largest air-hub, Pearson International Airport, an expensive, 40-minute cab ride away from downtown. Porter Airlines conveniently flies to Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, set upon an island just off the mainland. After a free five-minute ferry ride, Toronto’s city-center is a quick walk or cab ride away. Read more
Stay in the bustling Toronto city center in the elegant 4-Star Hotel Le Germain Maple Leaf Square. Throughout select dates in March, Expedia has slashed current nightly rates for Superior King rooms by 35% to just $179 per night.
Hotel Le Germain’s Superior accommodations provide guests with modern comforts such as goose-down pillows and duvets, in-room workspace, flat-screen HDTV, and complimentary Wi-Fi access. The hotel’s contemporary lobby encompasses a restaurant and bar that serves exotic cocktails and tapas infused with seasonal Canadian ingredients.
Step outside of the Hotel Le Germain’s relaxing atmosphere to immerse yourself in the excitement of the world’s most cosmopolitan city. If you’re a sports fan, the Air Canada Center, home of the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Raptors, is just a short walk away. The shores of Lake Ontario are also close by, where you can conveniently catch a ferry that will bring you to Billy Bishop Airport within ten minutes. Other nearby attractions include the famous C.N. Tower, world-class shopping, and countless waterfront parks.
To book, visit Expedia, or call Expedia at 800-238-0767. A limited amount of rooms are available at this rate.
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