Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween!

Halloween is my favorite holiday! I've had fun celebrating the last few weeks with pumpkin patches, haunted attractions, a costume party, and even a centuries old cemetery during a sightseeing tour. Today I plan to watch scary movies and enjoy some pumpkin beer...and of course candy.

Happy Halloween
Halloween costume party
Knott's Scary Farm
Pumpkin Patch

What are you up to today? Whatever it is, I hope you have a spooky fun day!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Experience New England Fall with Viator

New England Fall Foliage

In addition to taking a New England Coastal Tour, I also decided to book a New England Fall Foliage Tour with Viator. The whole reason for my Boston trip was to see those colorful leaves that they are famous for. Again, Viator did not disappoint!

This particular tour is $67 and only runs September through October, when the leaves are in their peak. Over the course of nine or so hours, you'll sit back on the bus and watch the beautiful foliage out the windows as the tour winds it's way through quaint Massachusetts and New Hampshire towns full of charm. We made six stops along the way, two of which were for snacks and lunch, plus an apple orchard, park, church, and a strip mall parking lot with a river running through it - it sounds weird but was really beautiful. Check it out in the last photo!

Cheshire Pond, New Hampshire
Ashby, Massachusetts
New England Cemetery
Contoocook River

Monday I'll have another New England recap. Come back for more on Boston and New Hampshire!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Touring Coastal New England

Exploring Coastal New England

Picking up from my last post about Viator, today I'm talking about my Coastal New England tour. Visiting Boston alone, I figured I should look into sightseeing outside the city and I've always wanted to go to Maine. The New England Coastal Tour was my opportunity to check an additional state of my list and it only costs $72! Starting in Boston, we traveled by big, comfortable coach to Hampton Beach, New Hampshire, on to York, Maine, and up to Kennebunkport, Maine.

Viator Tours

The Viator site actually lists a stop in Salem, not Hampton Beach. Fortunately I had already been to Salem so I wasn't too upset to see more of NH, especially since this trip was the first time I'd been to New Hampshire as well. It was interesting to see a beach so deserted. Here in Southern California, people are out on the water even in "winter". But out tour guide explained the average temperature in Hampton Beach during winter in 12 degrees, so the town boards up for several months. It was already cold in October, so I don't blame 'em for closing down after summer!

Hampton Beach, New Hampshire

We continued up the coast to my favorite stop of the tour, Nubble Lighthouse in York, Maine. It was quintessential New England and exactly what I pictured Maine to be - a rugged coastline with an adorable lighthouse. There's not much to do at the location, other than marvel in the beauty of the view and check out the gift shop, but it was a wonderful experience.

Nubble Lighthouse, York, Maine
York, Maine

Heading further north into Maine was the third stop in Kennebunkport. An adorable seaside community, there was lots to do from eating to shopping, but I found myself spending most of our allotted three hours just walking around admiring the homes and beautiful yellow leaf-adorned trees. When in Maine you must get the lobster, so I had a delicious lobster roll at The Pilot House. The wait was insane and I ended up sharing a table with an older couple (who let me take a picture of their impressive lobster), but overall my food was delicious.

Kennebunkport, Maine
Kennebunkport, Maine
Fall in Kennebunkport, Maine
The Pilot House lobster roll
Maine Lobster at The Pilot House

Kennebunkport is part-time home to former president, George Bush, who grew up summering in the town and was actually there while we were. When the Texas flag is flying, that's how you know he's at his home.

President Bush's home in Kennebunkport, Maine

Overall, I was very pleased with this Viator tour. To be able to see two states for $74 and about nine hours of exploration, it's well worth the time and money. You can expect to stop for snacks and lunch (not included in price) as well as visiting some noteworthy locations. I highly recommend taking this trip if you visit Boston between spring and fall. Please note, due to weather, the New England Coastal Tour is only available May to October, so plan accordingly!

My friend Austin, who has a travel blog, also toured the New England coast and has some fun additional suggestions for your trip. Be sure to check out his post!

And if you're planning to do some travel alone, check out my solo travel tips. In addition to tours, I provide more ways to make the most out of your party of one exploration.

In exchange for a review, I was provided with a comped Viator tour. All thoughts are truthful and my own.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Viator Provides Affordable, Enjoyable Sightseeing Tours

Explore with Viator

When traveling to a new location I love to take tours. It's the easiest way to see the maximum amount with limited time and/or no car. From hop on and offs, to ghost and bus tours, they all provide a great way to explore the region you are visiting. Plus, with solo travel like I did, it occupies your time so you're not just wandering aimlessly.

Last week I went on a trip to Boston and decided to plan bus tours so I could also get outside of the city to see fall foliage. When doing research, Viator seemed to provide the most options at the best prices so I found and booked two tours with the company: New England Coastal Tour from Boston and Fall Foliage Sightseeing Tour from Boston. Both were priced at around $70 which included hotel pick up and drop off, plus seven to eight hour-long tours. Very reasonable. Renting a car probably would've been the same price once you factor in gas, but it was so much easier to let someone else do the driving who knows the spots to go and provides narration along the way.

I stayed outside the city so I selected a hotel to travel to where I could get on the bus (if you stay within a city the bus usually picks you up right out front your hotel). Once on, I was able to enjoy a comfy seat, big windows to gaze out, and a tour guide illustrating points of interest. On both tours we made multiple stops for snacks, lunch, photo opps, and when time permitted, exploration.

Here are some photos from the two tours to New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Maine!

Nubble Lighthouse
Ashby, Massachusetts
Contoocook River Fall Foliage
Hampton Beach, NH

So many beautiful sights! Head on over to my reviews of the New England Coastal Tour and New England Fall Foliage Tour for detailed information.

In exchange for a review, I was provided with a comped Viator tour. All thoughts are truthful and my own.