Maple trees and covered bridges, apple orchards and watermills, rugged coastlines and solitary lighthouses – few areas of North America are as breathtakingly beautiful as French Canada and New England in the autumn. This new 16-day tour takes you to the best these regions have to offer, from the stone ramparts and elegant chateaux of Quebec to the brilliant autumn colours, spectacular art and incredible literary legacy of New England. Stays in Quebec City, Montreal and Boston, are complemented by day trips to Ottawa, Hartford, Newport and Cape Cod, with plenty of time to enjoy the beauty of the countryside.
Defining moments, from the first shots of the American Revolution in Boston and Lexington, to the Montreal Expo ‘67 and rebirth of Quebecois nationalism
Pilgrims and pioneers: French Ursuline nuns and coureur de bois, the Mayflower, Puritans, Quakers and Shakers
The birth of American literature: Thoreau, Emerson, Melville, Wharton, Twain and Hawthorne
Spectacular autumnal colours along the scenic byways and bridges of Vermont and Massachusetts
Stunning French-inspired architecture, including Montreal’s Notre-Dame and Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City
Iconic sites of early American history, such as Boston’s Freedom Trail, Paul Revere’s ride in Lexington and Concord, and the Mayflower landing site at Plymouth Rock
Art and craft in the Berkshires: the Clark Museum of Art, the Norman Rockwell Museum and an authentic Shaker village
Newport, Rhode Island’s stately homes, including the Vanderbilt mansion
Days 1–3: Quebec City, exploring one of North America’s oldest settlements. Follow the St Lawrence River to Montreal.
Days 4–6: In Montreal, encounter French Canadian culture, from Gothic cathedrals to modern food, performance and architecture. Day trip to Ottawa.
Days 7–10: New England’s Fall colour, from picturesque Burlington, Vermont, to the Berkshires’ vibrant arts scene. Day trip to Hartford, home of Twain, Beecher Stowe and the outstanding Wadsworth Atheneum.
Days 11–16: To Boston via Lexington and Concord. Discover the earliest history of the United States, and enjoy day trips to the Gilded Age mansions of Newport, Rhode Island and scenic Cape Cod.
A detailed itinerary for this tour is available. Click on the link above to view or download.
Air Canada fly direct to Vancouver, with connections to Quebec City. Contact us for quotes and bookings.
Included meals are shown with the symbols B, L and D.
Sunday 22 September: Arrival
Arrive in Quebec City, and meet your fellow travellers over a welcome drink in the hotel bar. Overnight Quebec City.
Monday 23 September: Old Quebec
After a morning lecture in the hotel, today we set out to explore Quebec City, first settled in 1535 by Jacques Cartier and one of the first settlements in North America. The Historic District of the city includes much expertly preserved 16th and 17th century architecture and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We’ll walk the ramparts of the original citadel, explore the cobblestone plazas, gaze upon the magnificent basilicas and meander through the winding alleys that feel like a French medieval city. In the afternoon, we’ll walk the famous Terrasse Dufferin and Chataeau Frontenac. Tonight, we have a welcome dinner in a traditional Quebecois restaurant. Overnight Quebec City (B, D).
Tuesday 24 September: Art and Nature in Quebec
This morning, we’ll head to the Montmorency Falls, one of the highest in North America, and then take a driving tour of Île d’Orléans. One of the most beautiful regions of Quebec, this island was one of the first places settled in Canada and is famous for its picturesque villages and delicious farm-fresh food, which we’ll have the chance to sample at lunch. A short return drive will have us back in Quebec City in the afternoon, allowing us to visit in the National Fine Arts Museum of Quebec, which houses some of the finest art of the region. The evening is free, but there will be the option to take the ferry to nearby Levis, which provides a spectacular view of the old city lit up over the waterfront at night. Overnight Quebec City (B, L).
Wednesday 25 September: Down the Saint Lawrence
Today we set off towards Montreal, taking a route parallel to the famous St Lawrence River. We’ll stop on the way in Trois-Rivières and take in the famous Notre-Dame-du-Cap cathedral and some of the old city. After lunch, we continue onto Montreal, the largest city in Quebec, entering via Parc Jean-Drapeau, the site of the famous Montreal World’s Fair of 1967, and take a peek at Buckminster Fuller’s iconic dome and Moshe Safdie’s Habitat 67, both icons of Quebec’s modern identity and modernist architecture. Overnight Montreal (B)
Thursday 26 September: Montreal History and Culture
We start this morning with a lecture, before heading off into the heart of Old Montreal and its well-preserved historic quarter. Of particular interest will be the breathtaking Basilica de Notre Dame, preserved historic architecture in the old city, and the archaeological remains at the Pointe-à-Callière. In the afternoon we’ll visit the Montreal Museum of Fine Art, a leading Canadian art collection. After returning to our hotel, we’ll venture out in the evening to see a performance from one of Montreal’s leading cultural institutions such as the Circ du Soleil or the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. Overnight Montreal (B).
Friday 27 September: Ottawa, Canadian Capital
Today we’ll take a day trip to Canada’s capital Ottawa, just a short drive to the southwest of Montreal. There we’ll tour the city’s major sites, including an insider’s tour of the beautiful Gothic Revival masterpiece – the Canadian Parliament House – as well as the Rideau Canal, and some free time to explore the markets and cafes of Ottawa’s ByTown district. In the afternoon we’ll cross the river to see the Canadian National Museum of History, the national preserve of the evolving story of both modern Canada and its First Nations peoples. We’ll return to Montreal in the evening. Overnight Montreal (B).
Saturday 28 September: Into New England
We say goodbye to Quebec and hello to New England, the wooded expanses of the northeast United States famous for its autumn colour. We’ll make the most of the foliage today by making out way to our next destination via the scenic byways of Vermont, including the stunning Routes 100 and 108 through charming small towns such as Stowe. We’ll arrive around lunchtime at Shelburne, home to the famous Shelburne Farms and Shelburne Museum, one of the best collections of American crafts in the nation. In the evening, we’ll have a group meal at a local farm-to-table restaurant. Overnight Burlington (B, D).
Sunday 29 September: Welcome to the Berkshires
After a lecture in the hotel, we’ll make our way further south through the hills and river valleys of New England, taking frequent stops for photos this morning, as well as visiting the gorgeous towns of Bennington and Manchester as we make our way to The Berkshires in Western Massachusetts. After lunch in Williamstown we’ll visit the Clark Art Institute, notable for its excellent collection of Old European Masters, including several iconic works of Renoir, as well as American regional masters such as Winslow Homer. Overnight Pittsfield (B).
Monday 30 September: Playground of the Arts
Today we explore the rich cultural heritage of The Berkshires, long a muse and home for some of America’s greatest writers and craftsmen. We’ll see the latter first hand at the Hancock Village, one of the last Shaker communities in the United States, famous for its hand-made furniture. We’ll have a group lunch of Shaker-grown produce. In the afternoon we’ll start our literary trail of Massachusetts, seeing the Herman Melville home and the estate of Edith Wharton, as well as the Norman Rockwell museum. Overnight Pittsfield (B, L).
Tuesday 1 October: Hartford, Connecticut
A day-trip today to nearby Hartford, Connecticut, to continue our trail of exemplary art, literature and culture. Our first stop is the Wadsworth Atheneum, an exceptional institution and the first in the United States to acquire pieces by greats such as Salvador Dali, Caravaggio and Piet Mondrian. We’ll lunch and take in the sights of downtown Hartford, before stopping in the afternoon at the home of Mark Twain, one of America’s most celebrate authors and humourists. We’ll return to Pittsfield in the evening. Overnight Pittsfield (B).
Wednesday 2 October: Lexington and Concord
Our literary trail will take us eastward today. We’ll make our way across Massachusetts to Boston via Lexington and Concord, two town famous for their history and literary contributions. In the morning, we’ll see iconic sites of American literature, including the Walden Pond that inspired Henry David Thoreau and the Orchard House, where Louisa May Alcott wrote and set Little Women. After lunching in Concord, we’ll the follow the historic trail to Lexington, upon which the very first battle of the American Revolution occurred, and Paul Revere made his famous midnight ride to warn that the British were coming. In the late afternoon we’ll check into our hotel in Boston and have a group meal nearby. Overnight Boston (B, D).
Thursday 3 October: Colonial Boston
Boston was one of the foremost cities of colonial America, and we’ll discover its rich early history, from its settlement by the Pilgrim fathers to its role in American independence. We’ll take the Freedom Trail through the historic heart of the city and its many preserved colonial-era buildings, as well as the Boston Commons and Trinity Church. After lunch we’ll take a leisurely stroll through the Beacon Hill district and around the Boston State Capitol, and we’ll have a free afternoon to explore the city on our own or continue with the tour leader if desired to sites on the north end of the Freedom Trail. In the evening we’ll enjoy a performance by the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Overnight Boston (B, D).
Friday 4 October: Centre of Learning
Boston is also one of the nation’s great centres of education and learning, and we’ll explore this aspect today. After a lecture in the hotel, we’ll take a trip to Harvard University, consistently ranked as the best in the world, and take a tour of its historic campus. We’ll also have a chance to drive through and see some of the major sites of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The afternoon will be taken up by a visit to the Isabell Stuart Gardner Museum, an incredible art collection set in a Venetian-style Palazzo. Overnight Boston (B).
Saturday 5 October: Newport, Rhode Island
Our final day-trip today will see us venture south to Newport, Rhode Island, the famous playground of the Gilded Age and home to the great mansions of the rich and famous. We’ll take a guided tour of the town and visit inside two of the largest and most ostentatious of these ‘summer cottages’, including The Breakers, the palatial summer home of the Vanderbilt family. Overnight Boston (B).
Sunday 6 October: Back Bay and Modern Boston
We’ll round out our visit to Boston this morning by venturing over to Back Bay, taking a guide tour of this relatively modern district of the city, but home to two of its architectural masterpieces – the Boston Public Library and Henry Hobson Richardson’s Trinity Church. We’ll take a visit to both and lunch in area, before heading in the afternoon to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, with a guided tour of this collection which rivals any in New York or Los Angeles. Tonight, we have a farewell dinner in grand style. Overnight Boston (B, D).
Monday 7 October: Farewell
Today we must say our farewells. In the morning, we’ll have the option to squeeze in one more point of interest – the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library. Airport transfers will be arranged for transfers out of Boston in the morning and afternoon (B).
Dr Matthew Laing
Is a historian and political scientist with a PhD from the ANU. Matthew leads tours to the United States and Scandinavia and lectures for Academy Travel.
Dr Matthew Laing is a historian and political scientist at Monash University who has led tours to the Americas and Europe with Academy Travel for five years. He has a strong personal interest in architecture, cultural history and modern art, with a particular expertise in the United States.
Matthew holds a BA and PhD from the Australian National University, and wrote his doctorate on the history of the United States presidency. He has worked as a lecturer and research fellow at the Australian National University, Utrecht University in the Netherlands, and now at Monash University in Melbourne. He is an accredited ADFAS lecturer and frequently holds public lecture series in Melbourne. He currently teaches United States history and leadership, and has published on both topics.
Matthew’s tours strive for intellectual engagement and to reveal the stories, both big and small, that can bring history to life. A voracious reader and traveller, Matthew strives to be a generalist and draws upon a wide range of subjects – from politics to architecture – to develop his understanding of a place. Matthew’s passion for the United States started as an intern in the United States Congress in 2007. Since then he has made dozens of trips across the country, for both work and pleasure, and is closing in on his goal of visiting all 50 states. He has lectured and written on a wide variety of US subjects, including the American Revolution, the Gilded Age, and American Modernist architecture. Matthew also lived in the Netherlands for two years and has travelled widely there, and has a particular interest in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe.
Matthew has been tour leading for Academy Travel annually since 2013, with many tours to the United States and Europe, and is now taking on a greater role managing and developing further tours in these regions, including developing new tours to areas like the Southern United States.
We asked Matthew, what do you enjoy most about leading a group tour?
“As an academic, the personal joy of leading tours for Academy Travel is that I get one of the best classrooms I could ask for of intelligent and attentive global travellers who share my passion for learning about our world. And yet often I also find myself the student – with intellectually-engaged travellers from all walks of life, some of the most stimulating debates and discussions I’ve had are with my clients on tours.”
“I think those who come on tour with me benefit most from my enthusiasm, energy and passion – whether it’s a giving a morning lecture or having a causal chat at lunch, I’m always striving to draw out new insights and connections that can further understanding and increase engagement.”
What is included in the tour price? Unless otherwise stated in the itinerary, our tours include the following:
Any flights mentioned in the itinerary that take place during a tour
Land travel by private air-conditioned coach. Where appropriate public transport is also used for short distance travel on some tours
All accommodation in hotels or apartments as stated in the itinerary
Breakfasts, lunches and dinners specifically stated as included in the itinerary
Drinks at welcome and farewell meals. Other meals may not have drinks included
Background talks on tour, site notes and online resources
Services of tour leader throughout tour
All entrance fees to sites mentioned in the itinerary
Local guides at some sites
Tips for drivers, local guides and restaurants for included meals
Tours begin either at the arrival airport or the first hotel, depending on the itinerary. If you have booked your international flights with Academy Travel and arrive before the tour commences, we will provide airport to hotel transfers to the closest main city on your arrival, and to the closest airport at the end of the tour. These may be either individual or group transfers.
What is not included in the tour price? Open-age tours do not include the following:
Return international/domestic air travel unless those flights take place during the tour
Special taxes and airport levies that can only be paid in cash at the destination. We will advise you of these charges (if any) before you depart
Costs involved in obtaining visas for countries visited, where required
Travel insurance. We require all participants to have comprehensive travel insurance. A typical policy for one of our tours will cost from $160 upwards, depending on your age, pre-existing medical conditions, the countries you are visiting and the overall length of your trip
Lunches and dinners not specifically mentioned as included in the itinerary
Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls
Costs associated with any activity mentioned as “optional” in the itinerary, or any suggested free time activity
You will be asked to sign an acknowledgement of these conditions when you book a place on a tour.
A deposit of $500 per person is required to confirm your booking on a tour. Final payment of the tour fee, insurance and any additional travel will be due 60 days before departure.
If you decide to cancel your booking the following charges apply:
More than 60 days before departure: $500*
60-45 days before tour start: 25% of total amount due
44-15 days before tour start: 75% of total amount due
14 days or less before departure: 100% of total amount due
*This amount may be credited to another Academy Travel tour within 12 months of the original tour you booked.
Unused Portions of the tour
We regret that refunds will not be given for any unused portions of the tour, such as meals, entry fees, accommodation, flights or transfers.
Academy Travel requires all participants to obtain comprehensive travel insurance. We offer a comprehensive policy with a reputable insurer if required.
Passport and Visa
A valid passport is required for all international travel. If you do not hold an Australian passport you may require a re-entry permit. Some countries require a visa to be issued before you depart Australia. We will advise you of all passport and visa requirements, but it is your responsibility to ensure that you meet passport and visa requirements before you depart.
Will the tour price change?
If the number of participants in a tour is significantly less than budgeted, or if there is a significant change in exchange rates Academy Travel reserves the right to amend the advertised price. If this occurs you will be given the option of cancelling your booking and obtaining a full refund. If an Academy Travel tour is forced to cancel you will get a full refund of all monies paid.
Will the itinerary change?
Occasionally circumstances beyond the control of Academy Travel make it necessary to change airline, hotel or to make slight amendments to daily itineraries. We will inform you of any changes as soon as they occur.
Full and final payment for the tour, airfare travel, insurance and any additional travel you book is due 60 days before departure. Payment may be made by bank deposit, cheque, cash or credit card. Please note there is a surcharge for payments made by credit card.
Academy Travel reserves the right to decline the booking or terminate the holiday of any traveller.