Nova Scotia | Classic Journeys Blog
  • Gardens at Villa Rufolo in Ravello, Italy

    4 Great Garden Walking Tours

    <h2>A stroll through an ancient garden relaxes the soul and nourishes the senses. </h2> <br><img alt="Italian Lakes garden" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lM&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002rPj" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br>  <p>We love a good walking vacation. It’s the best way to immerse yourself into the life and culture of a new destination. It’s also the best way to experience a beautiful garden — and we’ve seen many a beautiful garden. Here are four of our favorite garden walking tours:</p> <p><b>Villa Rufolo, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalfi/" target="_blank">Ravello, Italy</a></b><br><br>Overlooking Piazza Vescovado and with <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalfi/" target="_blank">magnificent views to the Bay of Salerno, Villa Rufolo is the cultural and historical center of Ravello</a>. Built by a wealthy merchant in the 13th century, the villa has been memorialized in literary works such as “Decameron,” by Italian renaissance author, Boccaccio. It’s storied past includes banquets for King Robert II of Naples and other Norman royalty and legends of hidden treasures.</p> <p>In 1851, Sir Francis Neville Reid, a Scottish botanist, fell in love with the property despite its state of disrepair and neglect at the time. He purchased the estate and began an extensive renovation on the property including the gardens.</p> <p>Know as the “Garden of the Soul,” <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalfi/" target="_blank">the garden of Villa Rufolo is bi-level with ancient walls</a> nearly hidden by cypress and lime trees. Reid stocked the garden with a variety of exotic plant species, which remain today. One such species is the Mediterranean cypress or pencil pine, which appears to originate from the eastern shores of the Mediterranean. It was originally imported by the Phoenicians for its highly ornamental pyramidal form.</p> <p>Another beautiful plant in the gardens is the creeping or climbing fig. It originates in south-eastern Asia, is a vigorous climber with small, dark green heart-shaped leaves. Its aerial roots adhere to walls.</p> <p>The large-leaved lime or linden, is a deciduous tree with heart-shaped leaves with serrated edges. They produce fragrant whitish-yellow flowers in May and June, arranged in drooping clusters of two or more hermaphrodite flowers.</p> <p>Today, the <a href="http://www.villarufolo.it/" target="_blank">magical gardens and villa grounds</a> are open to the public year-round.<br><br><b>Gardens of Château de Marquessac, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bordeaux/" target="_blank">Dordogne region, France</a></b><br><br><img alt="Gardens of Château de Marquessac" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lM&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002rQ3" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br>Step into the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bordeaux/" target="_blank">otherworldly landscape of the Gardens of Château de Marquessac</a>, designed by a student of André Le Notre, the famous designer behind the gardens of the Château de Versailles. The <a href="http://marqueyssac.com/" target="_blank">formal French-style garden</a> is up-ended — almost becomes a playful version of itself — with dramatic swirls and rounds. The garden is comprised of rosemary, santoline and 150,000 pruned box trees.<br> </p> <p>Once you recover from the wonder of this sight, you’ll notice the garden’s <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bordeaux/" target="_blank">prominent cliff-side position overlooking the Dordogne River</a>. You’ll see four of the famed castles of the area, including <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bordeaux/" target="_blank">Castelnaud, Beynac and Fayrac.</a></p> <p><b>Botanical Garden, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/cuba/" target="_blank">Cienfuegos, Cuba</a></b><br><br>An 1899 meeting between an American sugar planter in Cuba and two Harvard professors established The Harvard Botanic Station for Tropical Research and Sugar Cane Investigation in Cienfuegos, Cuba.</p> <p>In 1920, the ties between the garden and Harvard became more formal with a large endowment provided by the sugar cane farmer and the recognition of the garden as part of the university. Harvard Biological Laboratory was constructed at the garden four years later.</p> <p>During the 1930s, the garden reached its peak of beauty and diversity as a tropical arboretum. It was used by professors, students and visiting fellows to study tropical botany. Local citizens made up the grounds crew. With the Cuban revolution in 1959 and later the U.S. embargo American involvement was restricted and Harvard terminated its support. Today garden is run by the Cuban government and is both a <a href="http://www.uh.cu/centros/jbn/" target="_blank">National Monument and a popular tourist destination</a>.</p> <p>More than 2,000 species of plants thrive in this amazing 230-acre expanse in the gently rolling countryside just outside Cienfuegos. It’s the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/cuba/" target="_blank">only plot on earth where you can see 280 kinds of palms </a>in a single setting. It’s also a marvelous place to spot hummingbirds, trogons and other birds.<br><br><b>Annapolis Royal’s Historic Gardens, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/novascotia/" target="_blank">Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia</a></b><br><br><img alt="Apple orchard" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lM&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002rQ8" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br>This 17-acre paradise, overlooking a tidal river valley, marks the first European settlement in North America. It’s <a href="http://www.historicgardens.com/" target="_blank">divided into themed areas</a> that tell the story of the area’s local history from a horticultural perspective of gardening methods and designs.<br> </p> <p>La Maison acadienne design is based on diary notes from the Acadian era and includes an orchard and willow hedge. It includes the only archeologically authenticated replica of a pre-deportation Acadian dwelling in the Maritime region — a 1671 time period when Port-Royal (later Annapolis Royal) was the center of Acadie.</p> <p>Herbs, flowers and heritage 18th-century apple trees fill the Governor’s Garden. They are arranged according to the traditions of the mif-1700s period, when <a href="http://www.historicgardens.com/" target="_blank">Annapolis Royal was the capital of Nova Scotia, then under British rule</a>.</p> <p>Other gardens include more than 3000 brightly colored annuals; hydrangea and day lilies; a rock garden; a heather bed and a rose garden with more than 270 cultivars.</p>

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  • Trinidad Countryside, Cuba

    Top 10 Travel Destinations for 2017

    <p>From trend-busting Iceland to eternally amazing Amalfi, our hand-picked Top 10 travel destinations for 2017 comes from the best crowd-source of all: our daily chats with avid travelers like you. Launch your 2017 vacation here. And let us know which of our 85 destinations deserves a spot on next year’s list.</p> <h3><b>#10 INDOCHINA</b></h3> <p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/indochina-tours/" target="_blank">Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia tug at travelers</a> who crave the exotic and love to immerse themselves in culture and history. Add in some of the world’s best hotels and remarkable food, and it is no wonder Indochina makes the list.</p> <p><img alt="Indochina" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lN&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002rAj" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br> </p> <h3><b>#9 BRYCE, GRAND CANYON &amp; ZION</b></h3> <p>How swell is it that these three <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/" target="_blank">amazing National Park</a>s are practically neighbors? You don’t have to cross an ocean to feel your jaw drop at the red rock beauty, walk in slot canyons, go river tubing, and soak up a Grand Canyon sunset.<br><br><img alt="slot canyon" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lN&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002rAo" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br> </p> <h3><b>#8 IRELAND</b></h3> <p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/ireland-tours/" target="_blank">Blarney plus beauty equals Irish charm.</a> Even if so many Americans didn’t have close family ties to Ireland, it would make the list. We love its people, its luxe country hotels, and its peat-cutters and shepherds. (The pubs don’t hurt either!)<br><br><img alt="Sheep grazing in Ireland" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lN&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002rAt" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br> </p> <h3><b>#7 NOVA SCOTIA</b></h3> <p>Under the radar and over the top, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/nova-scotia-tours/" target="_blank">Nova Scotia is happening this year </a>because it’s near but feels very far away. Spectacular maritime scenery. Some of North America’s oldest towns. Awesome tides, huge whales and the very definition of quaint.<br><br><img alt="Whale fin" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lN&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002rAy" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br> </p> <h3><b>#6 PORTUGAL</b></h3> <p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/portugal-tours/" target="_blank">The buzz about Portugal</a> is how easy it is to have a unique and complete cultural experience in Europe’s sunniest country. There are the port vineyards of the Douro Valley. Dramatic Atlantic beaches. The fab cities of Lisbon and Porto.<br><br><img alt="Duoro River" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lN&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002rB3" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br> </p> <h3><b>#5 PERU</b></h3> <p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/peru-tours/" target="_blank">Machu Picchu is Peru’s marquee site.</a> (Our cultural and multisport family trips all spend part of three days there.) But other stars shine bright too: world-class cuisine, South America’s best hotels, and the cordial Quechua people.<br><br><img alt="Machu Picchu" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lN&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002rB8" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br> </p> <h3><b>#4 CUBA</b></h3> <p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/cuba/" target="_blank">Cuba is still the most talked-about, brag-worthy place </a>we know; from Havana to the Viñales Valley and the Bay of Pigs. To see Cuban life, to meet cigar rollers, farmers, classic car fanatics and others is unforgettable. Trips sell out fast. Reserve early!<br><br><img alt="Cuban with horse" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lN&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002rBD" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br> </p> <h3><b>#3 AMALFI</b></h3> <p>Since Augustus built a palace on Capri, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalfi-tours/" target="_blank">Italy’s Amalfi Coast has been a magnet</a> for lovers of matchless scenery and sweet weather. Sip some limoncello, waken to a view of Positano, wander Pompeii, and you’ll see why its popularity never wanes.<br><br><img alt="Positano" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lN&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002rBI" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></p> <p> </p> <h3><b>#2 ICELAND</b></h3> <p>Closer than you think…more other-worldly than you can imagine, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank">Iceland is having it’s moment</a>. Blame it on the mix of glaciers and lava flows, puffins and whales, ancient history and hip culture. Iceland is the island of the year.<br><br><img alt="Iceland glacier" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lN&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002rBN" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br> </p> <h3><b>#1 THE GALAPAGOS</b></h3> <p>Baby sea lions. Giant tortoises. Snow-white beaches. Volcanoes. All of the above are <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank">the lure of the Galápagos.</a> Guests on our island-based trips stay in luxury boutique hotels instead of cramped cruise ship cabins. Even better, you can add a visit to the Andean highlands in mainland Ecuador.<br><br><img alt="Sea lions in the Galapagos" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lN&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002rBS" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></p>

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  • Captain on Fishing Boat in Nova Scotia

    North America: 8 Trips with a Twist

    <h2><b>Closer-to-home trips can be more out-there than you expected.</b></h2>   <p>You expect the exotic in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/morocco-tours/" target="_blank">Morocco</a> or <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/asiapacific/" target="_blank">Southeast Asia</a>. But you don’t need to trigger a case of jet lag to have vacation that’s as fun and revelatory as a junket to <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/peru-tours/" target="_blank">Machu Picchu</a> or <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/myanmar/" target="_blank">Myanmar</a>. The United States and Canada can serve up plenty of un-vanilla experiences. This year in particular—as the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/national-park-tours/" target="_blank">National Park Service celebrates its 100<sup>th</sup>Anniversary</a> and travelers look to get their thrills in a few fewer days—<a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/northamerica/" target="_blank">North American Tours</a> are on a record number of radar screens. And if you think you know everything to expect, think again!<br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/" target="_blank">GRAND CANYON: RUINS OLDER THAN MACHU PICCHU</a></b></p> <p><img alt="Grand Canyon" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lg&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002oSz" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br>Plenty of people go to <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/" target="_blank">Bryce, Grand Canyon and Zion</a> for the geology. Slot canyons so narrow you can touch both sides at once. Chasms so deep that you need binoculars to see the bottom. And then there’s Walhalla Plateau where the ruins left by ancient puebloan people were already 350 years old the Incas were building cities in the Andes. This is our own land’s history, awesome and mysterious unlike anything you’ve ever seen without showing your passport.<br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/alaska-tours/" target="_blank">ALASKA: ICEBERGS IN A MOUNTAINTOP LAKE</a></b><br> </p> <img alt="Alaska" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lg&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002oTT" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br>  <p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/alaska-tours/" target="_blank">Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula</a> is plenty exotic (glacier walks, tide-pooling, walking on the Iditarod Trail). But for a pure I-can’t-believe-what-I’m-seeing moment, we vote for the watch icebergs bob on a glacier-fed lake way above sea level. Marooned up there at higher altitude, they’ll never collide with one of those giant cruise ships that blast past the coast. It’s a magical, unexpected place—and one you can enjoy at leisure with a picnic on the lakeshore.<br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/quebec/" target="_blank">QUEBEC: PARIS MEETS NORWAY</a></b><br><br><img alt="Quebec" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lg&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002oTd" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br> </p> <p>You think <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/quebec/" target="_blank">Québec</a> is going to be one thing, and instead it’s crazy/glorious mash-up. The city is 16<sup>th</sup> Century France, right down to the<br>cobblestones. It’s Saguenay Fjord. (Wait—an honest-to-goodness fjord on the U.S. border? Oh, yes.) Mix in the highest mountains east of the Rockies plus the birthplace of Cirque du Soleil and an elk herd or two. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/quebec/" target="_blank">Québec</a> is a combination you’ve never seen before, and that’s a recipe for a brag-worthy vacation.<br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/charleston/" target="_blank">SOUTH CAROLINA: GEECHEE SPOKEN HERE</a></b></p> <img alt="Charleston Bay" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lg&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002oTi" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br>  <p>Strolling under the Spanish moss in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/charleston/" target="_blank">Charleston and Savannah</a>, the architectural frills and extreme gentility are just as you imagined. But there’s a parallel culture, deep but dwindling, out on coastal islands like St. Helena. The Gullah, descendants of slaves, clustered there and 300-year-old ethnic strains of Africa still run through daily life and the local creole language known as Geechee. In a country that feels more homogenous every day, it’s a revelation to step back to a time when every community was an intensely rooted in faraway places.<br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/canada-tours/" target="_blank">CANADIAN ROCKIES: THE STARRIEST SKY ON EARTH</a></b></p> <p><img alt="Canadian Rockies" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lg&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002oTO" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br>Daytime is very fine in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/canada-tours/" target="_blank">Canada’s Banff and Jasper National Parks</a>. But it’s the night that will really open your eyes. Jasper is in the world’s largest accessible Dark Sky Preserve. Light pollution is nearly non-existent. So find a spot where you can stretch out on your<br>back and just look up. The Milky Way is milky white. The constellations are vivid. Focus for a couple of minutes and you can make out satellites moving across the glittery background. Finally, it makes sense why the ancients who saw this display every night worshiped the skies.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/novascotia/" target="_blank"><b>NOVA SCOTIA: MAKE LIKE THE MI’KMAQS</b></a><br> </p> <img alt="Nova Scotia" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lg&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002oTn" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br>  <p>Lobstermen and giant tides and being ogled by a whale. All are noble reasons to get yourself off to <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/novascotia/" target="_blank">Nova Scotia</a>. Within in a mile or so either side of the Atlantic shore, you can have an amazing time. The Mi’kmaq natives, though, had other ideas that will surprise you. Nova Scotia has an inland too where whisper-quiet forests and mirror-smooth lakes replace the coastal roar. In a canoe, gliding under a wide sky, you see a side of the province that most tourists never even imagine.<br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/napa/" target="_blank">SONOMA: NOT ALL OLIVES ARE CREATED EQUAL</a></b></p> <img alt="Napa" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lg&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002oTs" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img> <p><br>In <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/napa/" target="_blank">Napa and Sonoma</a>, as in just about every grape-growing region on earth, the soil and climate the vines love is equally hospitable to olive trees. Gnarled, silver-leafed, low-to-the-ground, the yield fruit too hard and bitter for a martini—but just right for oil. Go tasting with an expert and you find that the vocabulary is match for wine: eucalyptus, melon, almond, grassy, buttery, peppery and on and on. You sniff, you slurp, you savor and—unlike a classic wine taster—you’re even encouraged to swallow. <br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/montana-tours/" target="_blank">MONTANA: FLOWERS THAT PAINTED THE SKY</a></b></p> <img alt="Montana" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lg&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002oTx" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br>  <p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/montana-tours/" target="_blank">Glacier Park’s</a> amazing Highline Trail runs through a wildflower meadow. Amid the larkspur and forget-me-nots, our favorite is the Indian Paintbrush. In-and-out park visitors are prone to taking pictures of “the pretty red flowers.” With a naturalist, though, you learn that the Ojibwe turned it into shampoo and that because it has no branches it can only be pollinated by hovering insects. Its name comes from the legend of a young brave who received paintbrushes from the Great Spirit in order to paint the sunset. His discarded brushes sprouted to become these blossoms. And you thought they were just pretty flowers.</p>

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