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New England Culinary vacation: disaster or masterpiece?

It’s your choice.

Last weekend I helped with my niece, Sadie’s, wedding. After the ceremony, I carefully removed the boxed wedding cake from the fridge to carry it out to the cake table. I had taken only about three steps across the kitchen floor when the unthinkable happened. The sturdy, reinforced cardboard handle—surely it was made to transport the cake?—ripped, and the wedding cake landed on its side, in the box, on the floor. I was horrified.

The cake was intact, but was cracked and dented down one side and partially across the top. I took it out. I placed it on the cake table, with the worst of the damage facing away from the guests. I was devastated, and couldn’t stop apologizing!

We have a family story about my grandma on my dad’s side. She was an amazing cook; I get my love of collecting recipes from her, I’m sure. The story goes that she was entertaining guests one evening for dinner with a delicious meal. Following dinner, she went to the kitchen to retrieve a beautiful homemade apple pie for dessert. On the way back to the dining room, similar to my experience, she dropped the pie, which landed upside down on her clean kitchen floor. What to do? She didn’t have anything else to serve, and the guests were anticipating Grandma’s incredible culinary skills. She couldn’t just serve plain ice cream! Grandma scooped that broken pie back into the pastry dish and served it a la mode—and her guests were none the wiser. When they asked what that incredible apple dish was, she responded, “Apple pie a la fleur!”

Isn’t that genius? I love the thought that we can take a broken, dropped apple pie and make it into something still incredibly delicious. Right now our travel world (and lots of other aspects in our world) is kind of upside down on the floor. Rather than say, “That’s it. There’s nothing I can control about life right now, so there’s no way I can travel”-- is there any way you can think of to make “apple pie a la fleur?”

In the culinary spirit, I’ve got an amazing New England 7-night food tour to tell you about! From the cobblestone streets of Nantucket, to Provincetown, Boston, Plymouth Rock, and Martha’s Vineyard, you’ll experience everything from a Pilgrim Thanksgiving feast to incredible fresh New England seafood, plus a few delicious surprises in between.

Day 1: Arrive in Providence, Rhode Island. Get to know your fellow travelers.

Day 2: Providence – Newport – Providence

Tour Providence, including Brown University and Providence’s incredible cultural, art, and culinary offerings. On your way to Newport, travel down breathtaking Ocean Drive en route to Bellevue Avenue, home to seven mansions designated as National Historic Landmarks. Choose to explore stunning Marble House, built by Mr. and Mrs. William K. Vanderbilt and modeled after Versailles in Paris, or tour Rosecliff, the opulent former residence of silver heiress Theresa Fair Oelrichs, well-known for her lavish parties. Breakfast and dinner are included.

Day 3: Providence – Boston – Providence

Today, travel north to the historic city of Boston. Come to know Boston’s Yankee charm during a tour that highlights Beacon Hill, the Old South Meeting House, Boston Public Garden, the historic North End and Faneuil Hall Marketplace. Walk along Freedom Trail, showcasing historic sites, in your leisure time. Breakfast included.

Day 4: Providence – Plymouth, Massachusetts – Cape Cod

Tour a New England cranberry bog where you’ll learn about dry harvesting. Then, step back in time with a stop in the celebrated town of Plymouth where the Pilgrims landed in 1620. See legendary Plymouth Rock and board a true reproduction of the Mayflower. Visit Plimoth Plantation, an incredible re-creation of a 17th-century village. Today for lunch, enjoy a Thanksgiving feast. Later, arrive at your beachfront hotel for a 4-night stay. Breakfast and lunch included.

Day 5: Cape Cod – Martha’s Vineyard – Cape Cod

A ferry ride transports you to beautiful Martha’s Vineyard. You’ll see all the highlights, including quaint gingerbread-styled cottages and a once-famous whaling port with sea captain’s homes and widow’s walks.Tonight, enjoy a traditional New England experience as you indulge in a seafood and lobster feast. Breakfast and dinner included.

Day 6: Cape Cod – Provincetown – Cape Cod

Travel to Provincetown, located on the tip of the Cape. After a short tour, choose your excursion: a whale watch cruise to Cape Cod, or a scenic adventure through the iconic sand dunes of the Cape. Breakfast included.

Day 7: Cape Cod – Hyannis – Nantucket – Cape Cod

In Hyannis, tour the Kennedy compound and visit the poignant Kennedy Memorial. Next, set off by ferry to explore the idyllic island of Nantucket. From its cobblestone Main Street to its beaches and lighthouses, this place truly lives up to its reputation. Tonight, enjoy a wonderful farewell dinner and chef-led demonstration highlighting local specialties. Breakfast & dinner included.

Day 8: Depart for home.

Say goodbye to the amazing friends and locations, and catch your flight home.

When can you go?

In 2020, this trip still has some open dates in late September through the third week in October. In 2021, it begins May 7 and departs almost every week through mid-October. Some 2021 dates are already sold out; this is a popular trip, especially in the fall when the colors are incredibly beautiful. You are welcome to arrive early or stay a few extra nights, to enhance your New England experience.

Health and safety measures

- Trip protection is always available

- Each traveler completes a wellness declaration before travel

- Private car service between the airport and the hotels (beginning and end of trip), with each vehicle being disinfected daily and after every passenger

- Small tour groups with trained experts to handle unexpected situations, including illness & emergency. Available 24/7.

- Physical distancing during meals, experiences, and sightseeing

- In motor coaches, all surfaces are sanitized often

- Hand sanitizer available at all times

- Hotel cleanliness protocols are strictly followed

This delightful New England culinary experience would be an amazing way to create a culinary travel masterpiece, rather than a disaster of staying home and feeling trapped by our conditions.

I wish I could rewind to the evening of Sadie’s wedding. After her cake disastrously fell, I wish I would have pulled a few sprigs of baby’s breath from the kitchen counter, and arranged it on the marred surface of the cake. I wish I’d done something to not just leave that cracked cake on the table, but had added a little flair and creative covering to a bad situation. Although they still would have noticed the cracks, dents, and buckles on the surface, we could have all appreciated a little extra beauty, to make the best of a bad situation. Like my grandma did when she served her apple pie with flair and a new name.

Right now our travel world is uncertain. It hasn’t been a great situation, sort of like a broken wedding cake or an apple pie upside down on the kitchen floor. But it’s up to us. Will we pull ourselves together and make the best of the difficulty, or will we apologize and feel that there’s nothing we can do?

If you’ve been thinking about planning a vacation, what are you waiting for? Anticipating is just as fun as the experience. In the future, if you have to put it off because circumstances get in the way, it’ll be OK. You can reschedule. And maybe you’ll just get to appreciate and enjoy that mouthwatering, fulfilling experience, like Grandma’s guests did for her “apple pie a la fleur.”

This New England culinary vacation is a masterpiece of sights, experiences, and tastes. Don’t put off planning your next vacation masterpiece, whether it’s close to home or farther away.


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