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Die Trinity Church in Newport von außen, Bild: Susanne Reuter

Idyllic tranquillity in the midst of gifted landscapes

A piece of old America in the New World: In New England, the historical relationship to Europe becomes visible.

by Susanne Reuter

To this day, clear traces of the English settlers can be seen in the architecture, in the language of the inhabitants and in the overall lifestyle of the region. The name New England is derived from the description of the adventurer John Smith, who traveled to this area as early as 1614 and then published the book “A Description of New England”. This was followed by the Pilgrim Fathers, who emigrated from the English motherland with their ship “Mayflower” and founded the first colony on North American soil. The actual mass emigration from England began in 1629, tens of thousands of Puritans were persecuted for their strict faith and left Britain for the New World.

Today, New England, or New England, is made up of a total of six U.S. states: Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island , and Vermont. Its unique nature, its historically and currently important cities as well as renowned universities such as Harvard, MIT and Yale, the picturesque coasts with their pretty lighthouses, picturesque towns with cobblestone streets, fish markets, harbour complexes with restaurants and cafes, museums and the relaxed atmosphere attract visitors from all over the world. The region is transformed into a true dream in autumn during the Indian Summer. The colors shine spectacularly when the leaves turn red, orange, and yellow due to the decreasing chlorophyll content. Anyone who has ever experienced this blaze of color in New England in the Indian summer will never forget it.

Brooklyn Bridge New York
Start of the journey in New York with the beautiful Brooklyn Bridge, Image: Susanne Reuter

Inspired by history, I also travel by ship, of course very modern nowadays on the MSC Meraviglia and equipped with every conceivable luxury. For me, the cruise combines many plus points: Long car rides, time-consuming research for overnight stays and restaurants are no longer necessary, and I truly reach top destinations overnight. The Swiss shipping company’s MSC Meraviglia has had its new home port in New York since April 2023, thus showing a year-round presence in the North American region. We leave New York and set course for Newport.

Where New York’s high society spent the summer

Trinity Church, Newport
The Trinity Church in Newport, Image: Susanne Reuter

Arrival in Rhode Island, Newport, port. Immediately I feel the pride of the sailing capital of the world, until 1983 the venue of the legendary America Cup. In general, here the visitor immediately gets a taste of the grace and charm of the traditional resort. The white church, the Trinity Church, with its narrow bell tower, resembles a wedding cake with its three levels, is pretty to look at. And in the interior a highlight: approx. 1.5 x 1.5 large wooden boxes with church pews. The wooden edging kept out draughts in winter and preserved the warmth of the hot coals, which were brought in containers by the parishioners.

The benches were decorated according to the owners’ wishes. The purchase of a pew was a condition for membership in the parish and brought it income at a time when there were no donations. For the owner, the private church pew meant a permanently reserved seat, which could even be inherited. Due to its temperate climate and picturesque location, Newport became the summer resort of many wealthy New York families many decades ago who escaped the stuffy city air. The Breakers is the most imposing summer house and at the same time a symbol of the social and financial power of the Vanderbilt family at the turn of the century, who created their fortunes through steamships and railroads. The Renaissance-style palace with its more than 70 rooms (audio guide) can be visited. If you have time and are good on foot, you can take the spectacular Cliff Walk Trail and get to the elegant mansion. With the rocky New England coastline and crashing surf on one side and Newport’s most extravagant mansions on the other, the Cliff Walk is a breathtakingly beautiful walking tour.

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The Path of American Freedom

Arrival in Boston. A little NY skyline, just in miniature. Where the Cradle of Freedom stands, I follow the Freedom Trail and take a stroll through the city. It runs like a thread through the city, starting at Boston Common and ending 4 kilometers further at the Bunker Hill Monument and presenting all the historical sites associated with the colonies’ struggle for independence, a total of 16 sights. These include the ‘Paul Revere’s House’ from 1680, the oldest private building in the city centre, as well as the Old State House, which was built in 1713. This is where the spark of the revolution against the colonial power England once originated. In between, the ‘Rose Kennedy Greenway’, a magical park landscape, provides some nature.

Change of course in the event of a storm

Loosely based on the poet Matthias Claudius ‘If someone goes on a journey, he can tell something’, the news reaches me – back on board – that the course will be changed due to an imminent storm. Safety first. A day at sea is imminent. I use the time to relax in the SPA and can take advantage of various sports facilities, a real plus on a cruise. Nate (55) from Idaho tells me enthusiastically about his cruise experiences. He is on board with his wife, and the children used to be with him. He has everything he needs here. “Not every shore excursion has to be organized, we often go through the city on our own,” he explains. This is his first time on board at MSC. MSC Meraviglia is equipped with innovative technologies that minimize its environmental footprint. These include an exhaust gas purification system for clean emissions, an advanced wastewater treatment plant, intelligent heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems with heat recovery from the machine rooms, as well as LED lighting and intelligent systems for significant energy savings. By connecting to shore power, the engines can shut down and connect the vessels to the local grid to run the systems on board. Since the electricity is directed to the vessel via a specially designed transformer at the dock, this process avoids the emissions caused by diesel generators, improves local air quality and reduces noise and vibration levels. The entire MSC cruise fleet has received ISO 21070:2017 certification for maritime environmental protection, which means that waste is disposed of in a sustainable and environmentally conscious way.

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48° 56′ 56.389″ N 57° 57′ 0.983″ W

So unexpectedly I end up in Newfoundland. For more than 100 years, Corner Brook’s small ice-free harbor has been a port of call for cargo and container ships. Increasingly, cruise ships are also sharing the quay. In 2014, nine passenger ships were registered, and in 2024 there will be over 20. I am quite impressed to have the opportunity to feel real Canadian country life. The smoke from the paper mill, which was founded in the 1920s, comes out of chimneys. A huge truck, loaded to the maximum with wood, rolls down from the Transcanada Highway. Since 1984, Corner Brook Pulp and Paper has been producing newsprint made from thermomechanical pulp. It is likely to play a decisive role in the local economy. In nearby Glynmil Park, the first trees shine in magnificent colors, the Indian Summer appears.

Garden province with rural charm: Prince Edward Island or PEI for short

The Confederation Bridge at Prince Edward Island
The Confederation Bridge at Prince Edward Island, Image: Susanne Reuter

Across the Gulf of St. Lawrence, you will head directly to Prince Edward Island. It was here that the foundations of the Canadian Confederation were laid, a historic process in which the various British colonies in North America were merged into a federal entity. It led to the founding of modern Canada, an important milestone in Canadian history. A paradisiacal backdrop can be seen in the north: sandy beaches, rust-red cliffs and high dunes as well as salt marshes. Striking: the reddish colouring of the highly iron-rich soil. It is extremely fertile and abundant, so that in addition to fishing, agriculture dominates the economy. I arrive at the historic Green Gables farmhouse, inhabited by Lucy Maud Montgomery’s grandparents and the inspiration for the Cuthberts’ home in the classic literary ‘Anne at Green Gables’. In the southwest, the Confederation Brigde connects the island with the Canadian mainland. At 12.9 kilometres, it is one of the world’s longest bridges over ice water and crosses the Northumberland Strait, the strait that belongs to the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Take a deep breath of Scottish culture

Indian Summer in Portland
Indian Summer in Portland, Image: Susanne Reuter

Scottish culture plays an important role in Nova Scotia: The Scottish Gaelic language, incidentally the most widely spoken Celtic language today, has its origins in Scotland in the Middle Ages and was brought to Canada by immigrants in the 19th century. Canadian Gaelic was spoken on Cape Breton Island for almost 200 years. In the 19th century, Gaelic was the second most spoken language in Canada. Nowadays, according to the latest estimates, it is only spoken by about 500 to 1,000 people in Canada, mainly by older people, but has recently been cultivated again in a primary school. Cape Breton Island is particularly proud of its Gaelic traditions, so it’s worth taking a trip to Nova Scotia Highland Village, which brings 180 years of local Scottish history to life through costumed actors and a life-size replica of a Scottish Blackhouse – the only one in North America.

Portland – Art Galleries, Theatre, Music and Dining

MSC Meraviglia
The MSC Meraviglia, Image: Susanne Reuter

Just a few steps away from the pier and I’m right in the middle of it. Victorian brick and harbour atmosphere, cobblestones and lots of scene in the Old Port Exchange harbour district. Museums, historic buildings, lots of shops – it’s good to stroll through the city. At Cape Elizabeth, about 16 km south of Portland, stands one of Maine’s most impressive lighthouses, the Portland Head Light from 1790, in a wildly romantic setting.

Routes of the MSC Meraviglia from New York: Bahamas and Florida, Bermuda, Canada and New England. More information at msccruises.de