Flying North for Christmas
Toronto is the fourth largest city in North America so it guarantees a wonderful time. With this status comes a wide variety of things to do. Stay with our friendly Freebird hosts Ruth or Sheila who will be sure to share their wealth of knowledge with you. When in Toronto it’s a must to visit the CN Tower. It offers the most stunning views across the cityscape. Or head down to the Distillery District for delicious beers and food in fantastic surroundings. Another favourite is St Lawrence Market South where you’ll find tasty food and crafted pieces. Take a trip to Chinatown for delicious food. The Art Gallery of Ontario in the Gehry building, whose architectural style many of you will be familiar with is a must. For some Christmas shopping head to Kensington Market and Toronto Eaton Centre; they’re great places to buy presents for loved ones, and yourself of course! The Christmas Market at the Distillery District is wonderful with lots of activities, crafts, and all things festive! For the romantics among you, you must go to Casa Loma, North America’s only castle. This beautiful Gothic revival building built in the early 1900s lights up for Christmas welcoming visitors to explore the secret passages, extensive gardens and listen to the stunning pipe organ.
The first city established after the American Revolution, Cincinnati became known as the ‘Paris of America’ during the 1800s dawning beautifully ornate architecture. Since then other nicknames have followed like Cincy, The Queen City and The Fountain City. Fountain Square is central to the city, a cultural hub with concerts and events occurring often here. Richard will let you know what’s best to do when you’re in town. German settlers influenced the city hugely with Bavarian delicacies found in many eateries - for a sumptuous sausage, Goetta is a must. Other gastronomic treats include Cincinnati Chili, origins unknown for this one, but it is delicious! Between meals maybe catch a show in one of the many theatres in the city, or explore the music scene which boasts great jazz and bluegrass. Neighbouring Kentucky has had an influence here in Cincy and it’s recommended that you soak up some beautiful bluegrass sounds, and dance to some jazz by the local Doris Day. Now if you do visit over the holidays, have afternoon tea at the Taft Museum of Art, then walk down to Fountain Square and sip on some cocoa or watch Santa rappel down the Vine Building onto Macy’s! For the Christmas market get yourself down to Findlay Market to experience festive food and drink and grab yourself some gifts to take home.
For any fan of automobiles Detroit is of great interest, but there are so many ways to pass time here besides the Gilmore Car Museum and the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant. Venture to the gorgeous Belle Isle Park and watch the glorious fountain whilst you sip a coffee, and explore the park’s aquarium and conservatory, stunning! Stay with local hosts Bobbie or Peggy when you’re here and see the city like a true local. Detroit has been compared to Berlin for its creative spirit, and you can see why. There’s the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Guardian Building, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Windsor Sculpture Park, to name a few. Visit the Pewabic Pottery Studio, which is a National Historic Landmark in a wonderful building. Be an artisan and take a workshop, or simply appreciate the skill of the ceramists. You’d find it tough not to notice Detroit’s strong maritime connection. The city is very respectful of the water and honour it with a beautiful waterfront walk and the Dossin Great Lakes Museum. Something especially festive you could do in Detroit is attend ‘Home for the Holidays’ for some seasonal cheer, or visit Greenfield Village for its nightly Christmas festival. It’s just like being in a Christmas card!
One of the oldest cities in the U.S. is Boston - a renowned centre of learning and excellence in fields such as medicine, architecture and engineering, law, education and the arts. Boston takes prides in its attitude to the environment and ranks high for friendliness. It is easy to see why our hosts Lea and Thomas are so happy in Boston. Museums are a most enjoyable way to learn here. The Museum of Fine Arts is a wonderful place to visit, transporting you back to Impressionist France or Ancient Egypt. The Boston Museum is a must. Bring your sea-legs for live re-enactments of historic Boston moments in a floating building! Take a trip to the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum for a wealth of information and knowledge. Take a Christmas cruise around the majestic harbour, and you even have a pick of an Irish Christmas Carols Cruise, or a Holiday Jazz one. See the city lights and sing along. It’s heartwarming. A little Freebirdie told us The Nutcracker is still on this Christmas at the Boston Opera House. Boston has many Christmas pop-up and shopping mall markets too. Spend the vacation the right way - Christmas is a great excuse to indulge in some of the finer things in life.
As the U.S. capital, it goes without saying that Washington D.C. is an interesting place to visit. You’ll be spoilt for choice with things to see and do in the area. If you like to spread your wings, you can stay with Cynthia, Linda or Dean in the city, or with Katherine, located just outside D.C, in Brookeville, Maryland. When in D.C., visit the many memorials or take a walking tour of the beautiful and friendly city alone or with a tour guide. The National Museum of Natural History is a must along with the smashing Smithsonian Institute. Visit Lincoln, a magnificent sight, and enjoy a walk along the National Mall. If you visit in Spring, time your trip for the beautiful blossoms D.C. is famous for. The list of to-dos in Washington is vast at any time of year, and particularly so at this time of year. The city feels like a museum so passing time celebrating the holidays is twice as special here. Top of the list is a visit to the National Christmas Tree, and of course the White House gates. Visit the downtown Christmas market for festive feasts, gifts and music. At the George Mason University Centre for the Arts, you might catch the Vienna Boys Choir singing, an amazing experience for sure.
Be free as a bird!
The Freebird Club Team
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