Cruisers who dock in Montreal may see “Cite Memoire,” an art installation that lights up the city with historic representations of old Montreal. // © 2016 Cite Memoire/ Jean-Francois Gratton
Feature image (above): Visitors will find no shortage of attractions when visiting the Port of Boston. // © 2016 Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau
With its combination of the familiar and the exotic, the Northeast and its bordering Canadian regions are seeing a very robust season. In ports from New York to Quebec, travelers can stroll easily from the ship and step into the flow of local life. Here are a few Northeast and Canadian ports not to miss.
Bar Harbor, Maine
The beautiful Acadia National Park is a hike from the Bar Harbor cruise terminal, but passengers can get there quickly by renting a bike or taking a carriage ride. There’s also a free shuttle a few blocks from the terminal. An information kiosk in the port gives visitors clear and helpful directions.
However, no one will need any assistance in finding the fudge shops that line Main Street — the scent of rich chocolate wafts for blocks. Or, head for the area’s handmade ice cream, local lobster and blueberry dishes. Travelers can even indulge in traditional Asian teas at Tea House 278.
The exploding growth of the Boston Harborwalk pedestrian path between the city’s north and south historic waterfronts continues. The restaurants, boutiques and cafes along it feature a broad view of the many types of boats in the harbor cutting across the water.
On the land side, there are free concerts at the Institute of Contemporary Art and an assortment of trolley, bike, beer and duck tours, as well as harbor cruises. Those who want to sample the local cuisine can try venues that offer classic New England dishes and afternoon tea, such as Aragosta Bar + Bistro at the new Battery Wharf Hotel.
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Passengers can walk along the Halifax waterfront to an assortment of restaurants, as well as to the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, where they can relive life on the Titanic. There is also the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, similar to New York’s Ellis Island.
The area’s waterfront boardwalk, just under 2.5 miles, leads from Pier 21 to Casino Nova Scotia. Along the walkway, travelers can find a colorful farmers market, as well as boutiques, cafes and specialty shops selling chocolates and regional cheeses. Snack at a picnic table overlooking the water at The Battered Fish.
Manhattan, New York
The area immediately around the Manhattan Cruise Terminal is grim-looking, commercial and one of the few parts of the city not teeming with pedestrians.
However, one block east, on 11th Avenue, there are attractive places to grab a drink or dine, including Print, which features a rooftop bar and sustainable dishes such as oysters and roasted corn soup.
A local favorite, Landmark Tavern, has been sustaining the Irish tradition since 1868 with fish and chips, corned beef and cabbage and bangers and mash.
Two blocks over, on 9th Avenue, is Southern Hospitality. Singer Justin Timberlake is the co-designer of this Memphis-based Southern barbecue haven.
Montreal is rocking toward its 375th birthday in 2017, with new attractions including the dreamlike tableaux of Cite Memoire — lyrical projections on nearby walls and landscape set to a soundtrack that plays from dusk until midnight and shows the characters that make up the city’s history.
Visitors can already enjoy a spectacular view of the city at the newly opened Sommet of Place Ville Marie, an observatory, entertainment and restaurant complex. Stay fueled at eatery Les Enfants Terribles, on the top floor, for dishes from mac and cheese and black pudding to shepherd’s pie and fish and chips.
Cruise ships usually dock at the Espace Dalhousie cruise terminal right by Quebec’s charming Old Town. If it’s crowded and your ship docks at Pier 103, there is a shuttle.
The quaint Petit Champlain quarter in Lower Town has popular shops and restaurants; more serene is Grande Allee, a tree-lined street lined with restaurants, cafes and bars.
Tell clients to be sure to try some poutine, a regional distinctive and habit-forming dish made with French fries and cheese curds and served with brown gravy.