Spectacular colours and beautiful mountain scenery come together on an autumn adventure along America’s East Coast. We stay in Cape Cod, Boston and the White Mountains, experiencing the region’s terriﬁc scenic railways on a seasonal tour that brings out the very best of stunning New England.
We depart London Heathrow for Boston Airport, from where we transfer to the town of Falmouth on Cape Cod. Named for its peculiar shape, Cape Cod is a popular summer resort and offers stunning scenic beauty year-round.
Our base for the next three nights is either the family-run Shoreway Acres Inn, or The Inn on the Square. Both are ideally located just a short stroll from the beach in Falmouth's historic district.
Our first full day in New England is free to explore Cape Cod and the surrounding region at leisure. You could remain in Falmouth itself, enjoying the pristine beaches, historic buildings and green parkland.
Alternatively, you could take a bus to nearby Hyannis, which has long been a summer getaway location. Here you can visit the John F Kennedy Hyannis Museum and the John F Kennedy Memorial, or enjoy classic retail therapy in the Main Street Waterfront District.
Today's excursion begins with a morning departure by ferry to Martha's Vineyard, a summer resort for New England's wealthy population. "Vineyarders", as the island's residents are known, are fiercely protective of the island's traditions and heritage, giving Martha's Vineyard the look and feel of a bygone age. The usual 'big business' franchises have yet to make an impression anywhere in the resort. A coach takes us on a tour of the island, introducing us to the main sights.
We travel to 'upisland', the sparsely-populated and sleepy towns to the west, and 'down-island', the busy and fashionable eastern half of the Vineyard, where Oak Bluffs, Edgartown and Vineyard Haven lure the rich and famous.
This morning we transfer to Boston, and join Amtrak's Downeaster service for the journey north. Named after the sailing vessels built by Maine's shipbuilders, the Downeaster takes us on a 116-mile journey through beautiful New England to Portland, Maine. From here we continue by coach into the White Mountains, one of North America's most beautiful landscapes.
Our journey takes us through Maine and New Hampshire during their golden season, as a breathtaking tapestry of colour, from deep, dark reds to delicate, pale yellows, lines the route. On our way, we stop in Plymouth to discover the highlights of this historical town including a replica of the Mayflower, the famous ship which first brought pilgrims to the New World.
Later, we arrive in North Conway, where we spend three nights at the Fox Ridge Resort Hotel.
This morning we board the Mount Washington Cog Railway - the world's first cog railway. It opened in 1869 and climbs the 6,228ft (1,898m) up Mount Washington, the highest peak in the Eastern States. During the fascinating steam-hauled journey*, we enjoy a short stop at the summit to enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding White Mountain Range.
*Steam-hauled where possible. On occasion the three mile trip is made by bio-diesel locomotive.
Today we enjoy a round trip on board North Conway's Scenic Railroad 'Notch Train'. We relive the legend written in the annals of railroad history as we follow a route first taken by train over 132 years ago. We pass some of the finest natural scenery in New England as the train takes us through the spectacular scenery of Crawford Notch - past sheer bluffs, steep ravines, cascading brooks and panoramic mountain vistas.
The experience is truly breathtaking during the autumn season, as New Hampshire's scenery is covered in a stunning blanket of dark red, yellow and brown. We cross the Frankenstein Trestle and Willey Brook Bridge en route to Crawford Depot. Live commentary during the journey helps to give an insight into the history and folklore of the railroad and its route.
This morning we leave North Conway, travelling by coach on a scenic route through New Hampshire to Boston. During the journey we stop in the historic city of Salem, renowned for the infamous Salem Witch Trials, one of America's darker chapters that took place in the seventeenth century. On our arrival in Boston we check in to the Revere Hotel Boston for a two-night stay.
The rest of your day is free to explore Boston at leisure. The city's Public Gardens are the oldest in the USA and are a delight to stroll around, whilst the New England Aquarium is home to over 2,000 species of aquatic life, including sharks, seals and penguins. The JFK library has several exhibits dedicated to the city's most famous son. The city also has a wealth of museums and art galleries to visit.
Today we enjoy a guided sightseeing tour of Boston, taking in the main sights of a city known for its 'old world' charm. Our tour takes in selected parts of the city's famed Freedom Trail. We travel through the Back Bay past the historic USS Constitution, to Copley Square and Beacon Hill, for an insight into stylish Boston's history.
This afternoon we make our way to Boston Harbour for an afternoon whale-watching excursion by high-speed catamaran. The three outside viewing decks offer superb views as we track Humpback, Finback and Minke whales, as well as White Sided Dolphins. An informative commentary is provided throughout by researchers from the Whale Centre of New England.
We bid a fond farewell to the States today. Our final day of the tour begins with a free morning, allowing you the opportunity to pick up souvenirs, for friends, family or even just yourself, before we begin our journey home. We transfer to Logan International Airport, where we board our flight back to London, arriving on Day 10.