Sometimes the best way to get to the USA from Toronto is to hit the road. Even flying there costs an arm and a leg these days, despite only being an arms length away.
So for New year’s Eve, we decided to take in the sights and sounds of the Big Apple, on the cheap. Having used Comfort Tour before, we knew we wanted to use them again.
On a rainy and slushy 6am morning we dragged our luggage and feet through the snow, choosing to take the TTC over a taxi. Eventually we got to our pick up destination, a little bit disgruntled at our wet socks and cheap ways. So we changed our socks and boarded the bus, excited to go to New York City.
Pam was a wonderful tour guide. She was always cracking jokes, very considerate of her travellers, and always trying to make the journey as smooth as possible by giving us lots of information. She played great movies featuring New York as a backdrop (Home Alone 2, When Harry Met Sally), and her games were a nice way to bond the fellow travellers.
The bus stopped often for bathroom and food breaks, which is great for a hangry prone person like myself (hangry= hungry + angry after not eating for a certain amount of time). We stopped at a duty free store on the Peace Bridge where alcohol prices were cheap cheap cheap! However, most other things were just reasonably priced.
The opportunity to do the guided tour, especially for New York first timers, is an extremely valuable experience. There is so much to see and do in Manhattan alone, so to condense it down is a difficult feat, but we got to see some of the most iconic places. Namely Central Park, Strawberry Fields, The Dakota building (unfortunately covered in scaffolding), the Freedom tower and Twin Tower memorial, and Grand Central Terminal (which we had never been to) with the help of Eugene, a local tour guide.
The next day there is an opportunity to take a cruise to see the Statue of Liberty, however having already done this, we opted out. There is also ample free time given after the guided tours, with options to take the bus back to the hotel in New Jersey around dinner time, or to stay longer and make your own way back to New Jersey via train.
Now let’s not forget the driving. John was a very experienced and cautious driver. He drove over snow with ease and finesse. He was kind to give directions and advice. He weaved in and out of Manhattan traffic like nobodies business, picking us up in the most tourist trap places inconspicuously. He said he had been to New York 173 times, an impressive feat in itself!
This trip is definitely recommended for first time visitors to New York as a great way to familiarise yourself with all the highlights, and you can use your spare time to explore whatever department store or dive bar you are hanging to see.
Whether you are going to New York for a big celebration like New Years Eve and feel brave enough to handle the crowds in Times Square, or whether it’s just a quick mid year getaway, this is just the right amount of time to see the city, and get the senses going.
Thank you Pam and John for enhancing our New York experience. The US dollar may be bad, but the trip was fantastic!
For more information, click here. Definitely consider one of their many tours to the USA or throughout Canada. They are all a similar format with guided tours, cruises and free time. We cannot recommend it enough!