USA 2004 Honeymoon

60 days across North America

Montreal - New York

Dates : 08/23/2004 to 08/31/2004

Then off to our furthest northern point of our trip: Quebec City where we enjoyed the hospitality of our friend Elise (for those of you who where at our wedding 14 months ago, she was the one with the charming Canadian French accent). We thoroughly enjoyed her home cooking – quite a relief after four weeks of restaurants – as well as the energy of her girls Amélie and Marielle. She had prepared a full day's worth of visits for us, but our laziness did not allow us to see everything – just the essentials.

Quebec City is very charming with its old town surrounded by a fort (La Citadelle) and Chateau-Hotel Frontenac (we toured Jimmy Carter’s suite). We also visited an Indian reservation where the Huron guide enlightened us on their culture and former living arrangements. Without omitting the fact we were able to work on our French…

« At the Hurons »

Quebec, Canada

The gardens surrounding the Citadelle

Quebec, Canada

Jimmy Carter’s suite is in the right tower

Quebec, Canada


We arrived late in Montreal and had difficulty finding our hotel due to a GPS failure (ah the software glitches)… Fortunately we have tons of maps (actually a huge box filled with maps and guides from AAA takes up a third of our trunk), just need to notice that North is not necessarily at the top and reading maps becomes easy... The first level of the hotel parking being full, we went down a level and quickly found out that we did not have sufficient clearance for our SUV. Christophe was driving with one hand on the steering wheel, one foot on the brake and his head sticking out of the window to make sure we could get through… Otherwise, Montreal is a beautiful bilingual city with remnants of the world fair of ‘67 and Olympic Games of ‘76 (i.e. the stadium of the “Expos” - baseball team - that resembles a landed UFO). The view from Mont Royal is definitely worth the detour as well.

Our return to the US was uneventful even though the custom’s agent did ask why Christophe was not at work since he has a work permit to be in the US and how Laetitia could be an American citizen without being born in the US. We arrived directly in Maine and first saw the Atlantic Ocean from Acadia NP. Laetitia was able to eat tasty Lobster for lunch and diner and we finally got our mosquito repellent to intensive use. After visiting the Maritime Museum in Bath which is situated in the former buildings of a ship construction plant of the 19th century, we spent the night in a nice little campground along the shore where we had 1,000 square feet of land just for us. The East coast is charming, but we found it to be extremely humid! At the camping, everything got damp/wet within 10 minutes and the tent would not dry before we had to fold it in the morning. We forgot about the humidity and the comfort of hotels by grilling sausages and eating marshmallows…

The new lighthouse tenant

Portland, ME

Laetitia waiting for the Lobster

Acadia NP, ME

We entered Massachusetts and arrived in Boston. This city distinguishes itself by the number of prestigious universities: Harvard, MIT, Boston University and the University of Massachusetts that we toured by car.

Boston is also filled with history: theater of the first uplifting against the British crown in the 1770 (amongst others the Boston Tea Party and the beginning of the war of independence in 1775). An interesting claim was “no taxation without representation” dear to Laetitia and probably other Americans abroad. We walked freedom trail and saw numerous buildings and monuments from the 17th - 18th century as well as USS Constitution, but the weather was really too hot and humid for us so we took off to the beaches.


We drove down the coast by way of the place where the Mayflower landed (102 British pilgrims in search of a more religiously welcoming land. Only half of them survived their first winter in America), and arrival at Cape Cod, an arm of sandy land extended in the Atlantic Ocean covered by beaches and easily identifiable on any world map. Quick swim in the Ocean (more like a splash the water was so cold) and sunbathing of our fast-food bodies before heading to the big cities further south.

« I’m hungry »

Bath, ME

USS Constitution, Boston, MA

Bon Samaritain Market

Montreal, Canada

Downtown Montreal as seen from  Mont Royal

It’s always interesting to be at approximately 100 miles from major cities because that is where rich people have their “small” summer cottages. For New York, the retreat would be Rhode Island and the charming city of Newport in particular. That’s where the Americans lost their first America’s Cup in 1983 and is also the place where multimillionaire New Yorkers would appease their desires of size, beauty and tranquility by building impressive houses in the late 1800s. We only visited one of these “small” mansions: the Cornelius Vanderbilt house (they made their fortune in the rail road): “The Breakers”: 70 rooms, a living room with a surface of approximately 1,200 square feet and a ceiling 50 feet high, 20 servants for the interior to care for the house, 20 servants to care for the exterior, all interior walls are either platted with gold or made out of marble,…The construction of the house is estimated at 11 million dollars (of the time) that Vanderbilt paid himself (at one point he had more money than the US government). We can add to the story that the main residence of the Vanderbilts in New York had 150 rooms…

The boss’ husband

« Les brisants », Newport, RI

The boss

« The Breakers », Newport, RI

Talking about New York, it’s not easy to arrive by car, especially during rush hour traffic, but we managed. We came from the North and drove through the Bronx and between the road work, the exits, the connecting roads and the highways one over the other, we understood why in French we use the expression “It’s the Bronx” when talking about a mess. Then we drove through upper Manhattan, crossed the Washington Bridge over the Hudson River and reached New Jersey and our Hotel.

New York is New York, it is not comparable to any other place on earth. We started with an emotional visit to ground zero. You come out of the subway, see the skyscrapers in front of you, but when you turn around to where the two World Trade Center buildings stood you are taken aback by the emptiness of the site. Some of the surrounding buildings that were impacted three years ago are still being rebuilt.

We managed to be in New York at the same time as the Republican convention (for the Presidential elections of November), meaning police everywhere: on streets, in their cars, buses, van, motorcycles, even in a blimp… Walking was no problem, the issue was stopping: Christophe got the “Keep moving” twice. Finally we went up the Empire State building again to admire the city from above.

« Ground Zero »

New York, NY

Otherwise, we are doing well, we opened a bottle of champagne to celebrate the first 10,000 miles of our trip, Christophe needs a hair cut, the 15,000 mile maintenance is done, football season has begun, the critical date of Labor Day has passed meaning hotel rates are now competitive compared to camping, we did not go to Flushing Meadows to see Federer, and yes for the people wondering, we are still getting along and sleeping in the same bed…