This morning was our earliest start on tour – the coach was leaving at 7am this morning so that we could get to the border early. We dropped our bags at the coach at 6.30am and then nearly all of us headed over to Maccas to get a quick breakfast before we headed out.
It was about an hour and a half drive to the border from our hotel. We stopped just before the border at the duty-free store for our last chance to buy Canada souvenirs and spend our Canadian money. I ended up buying some Clinique products because they were SO cheap.
Then it was on to the border. Coming back into the US was a bit stricter than coming in to Canada. Our Contiki manager James said that on some tours, they had to unload everyone’s suitcases and everything from the coach, so sometimes this stop can take a while. We were lucky, because they didn’t check anything on the coach. We were told not to speak at all while in the building, so it was quite intimidating. All they asked us was where we live and what we do for a job before allowing us back on the bus, so it was a pretty easy process.
Once we were all through, it was on to our first stop – Vermont! We were going to the Ben & Jerry’s Factory, so everyone was pretty excited for ice cream (even though it was only about 10am). We had an included tour of the factory, but had about half an hour spare before our tour started when we got to the factory. We hit up the gift shop where we all brought lots of ice-cream-related souvenirs before grabbing ice cream. I was so disappointed because my favourite flavour (Americone Dream) wasn’t available, so I had to settle for Chocolate Fudge Brownie. It was still delicious.
The tour of the factory was pretty short and because it was Labour day, no one was working in the factory, so we didn’t actually get to see the ice cream being made. We did get to sample some ice cream though and what do you know, we were sampling Americone Dream. I was super excited and told the guide it was my favourite flavour – he tested me by asking what was in it in front of the whole group. Of course I knew – vanilla ice cream with a caramel swirl and chocolate-coated waffle cone pieces. The sample was way too small for my liking but the ice cream was so good. It had been four years since I had had it last (when I lived in Florida) and now I don’t know when I’ll ever get to have it again 😦
After Ben & Jerry’s, we headed about half an hour down the road to Vermont’s capital – Montpelier. Vermont is a really pretty state and Montpelier is definitely the nicest town I’ve seen in the U.S. It’s the smallest state capital, with only about 8,000 residents. The town is so small and pretty – I want to live there!
After our stop at Montpelier, we were back on the road to Boston. We had one more stop before we arrived at Boston, and that was in New Hampshire. It was about a 3 hour drive to Boston and I’m pretty sure I slept most of the way. We finally made it to Boston and drove through the city, with James pointing out some of the sights and places to see on our free day tomorrow.
We checked in to our hotel and had about an hour to get ready before we had to be back out at the coach to head to our included dinner. We went to a place called Dick’s Last Resort. It’s a restaurant chain that I had heard of before – I think Contiki likes to take tour groups there. The idea of the restaurant is that the waiters are dicks – they’re rude and make fun of you. I guess it’s funny but it wasn’t a place I’d go back to – it felt wrong to tip someone who had thrown stuff at you and insulted you haha! It was pretty funny seeing the hats they gave us all to wear – you can see what they gave me in the photo below.
Tomorrow is our free day in Boston and our last night on Contiki.