GRAND EAST COAST

GRAND EAST COAST 40-DAY RV Caravan


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WANTED:  Curious, fun-loving RVers looking for adventure! Now’s your chance for an epic 40-day RV trek on Fantasy RV Tours’ Grand East Coast Caravan! Travel from the cool, rugged coastline of Maine to the sunny, sweeping shores of Florida. This is a multi-cultural mix of charm-filled seaports, four major metro adventures, and total immersion into the roots of our American culture. It’s not about how fast we go, or how many sights we tick off our bucket list. It’s about the RV journey itself: the joys of unexpected discoveries, the unfolding of  experiences on the road — sharing them all with new friends as we travel in the comfort and convenience of our RVS.

LIGHTHOUSEThere’s only one way to start this adventure, and that’s by meeting your fellow RVers for a luscious, full-on lobster bake in beautiful Bar Harbor, Maine.  Like most of Fantasy’s tours, we begin with an Orientation, Get Acquainted Party and Welcome Dinner.  The rugged beauty of this area is best discovered by land, and so the adventure begins on our first guided tour of Acadia National park, established in 1916.  This is not strictly a land-locked experience as we also take to the sea on a Bar Harbor Nature Cruise.

A short drive south delivers us to the quaint seaside retreat of Kennebunkport, Maine, once known as the Summer White House for President George H.W. Bush, the 41st President of the United States.  We tour the historic gardens and homes of Strawbery Banke, a very unique outdoor living history museum. We explore the majestic Nubble Lighthouse perched proudly atop Maine’s rocky coastline.

PLYMOUTH ROCKLiterally a hop, skip, jump and a 130-mile drive south, our Metro Adventure #1 lands us in Boston. Here you leave the driving to us! We embark on four adventurous days of guided tours and sightseeing revealing the history of the New World. It’s all in the spirit of Paul Revere, local-boy-turned-famous patriot! Our visit takes us to Old North Church, Boston’s oldest surviving church building, and also to Paul Revere’s humble house.  Consider it our patriotic duty and mission to follow the red brick path of the Freedom Trail through Central Boston to a number of historic sites. Visit the USS Constitution. Eat, shop, and drink your way through Quincy Market, aka Faneuil Hall, and take a walking tour of Harvard Square. The spirit of Thanksgiving arrives early with a visit to Plymouth Rock, the Mayflower, and Plymouth Rock State Park. Enjoy a traditional Colonial lunch and a talk by a Plimoth Plantation historian.  Not to be missed, the Pilgrim Hall Museum tells the riveting founding story of America through artifacts, paintings and expert interpretation.

The rich maritime culture of Newport, Rhode Island leaps to life aboard a harbor cruise and city bus tour of historic mansions. On our drive along the southern shore of Newport to Ocean Drive, we stop at the opulent Vanderbilt ‘summer cottage’ known as Breakers Mansion, and St. Mary’s Church, where John Fitzgerald Kennedy married Jacqueline Bouvier in 1953.

MYSTIC SEAPORT MUSEUMPause for a well-deserved ‘breath of fresh air’ between Boston and New York as we arrive in Mystic, Connecticut, home of the Mystic Seaport Museum, a true living history museum featuring 17 acres of exhibits.  Tonight we enjoy a chance to catch up and share stories over a locally sourced dinner.

The brief urban respite ends as we arrive in the comfort of Jersey City, directly across the mighty Hudson River from New York.  This perfect location affords us all fast and easy access to NYC’s many attractions without the noise, traffic, and crowds of the city.  Our Big Apple escapade (Metro Adventure #2) officially begins with dinner in NYC’s authentic Chinatown. Sightseeing starts fast and furious over the next four days with a spectacular harbor night cruise.  From there we explore mad Manhattan from top to bottom.  On the Upper Westside, we visit the Lincoln Center (home to New York’s performing arts), Central Park, Museum Mile, Grand Central Terminal, 42nd Street Deco Architecture, the Chrysler and UN buildings. We stroll down famous 5th Avenue; visit Rockefeller Center, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Trump Tower and Times Square.  We dine at one of New York’s most famous sports bars, and finish with a top-billed Broadway show.

Sightseeing continues in Lower Manhattan with a visit to the Statue of Liberty, the incredibly moving 911 Memorial, Trinity Church, Little Italy (for dinner!), St. Paul’s Chapel (the oldest surviving church building in Manhattan), Wall Street, and Greenwich Village, the city’s Bohemian arts enclave known simply as ‘the Village’ by locals. Of course, Fantasy takes you to the Top of the Rock for its legendary sweeping view of Central Park and Manhattan’s skyscrapers.  Our unusual approach to exploring New York is to devote an entire day to independent discovery of the city by boat, train, bus, and subway. We provide roundtrip water taxi tickets to and from the RV park, along with an opportunity to customize your own city tour!

LANCASTER AMISH COUNTRYAlthough we really love the bustle of New York by now, it’s time to move on to the relative calm and peace of the next five days spent in the rolling hills and rich farmlands of Amish country.  Lancaster, Pennsylvania is tranquility base for our Amish encounter.  An Amish Experience tour, lunch and Amish culture film is on the itinerary, along with a visit to Old Homestead (a third-generation working farm), and the Fisher one-room school.

A short 78-mile drive plunges us into Philadelphia for Metro Adventure #3! A guided bus tour takes us to several historic landmarks.  We visit the Betsy Ross House, beloved birthplace of the American flag in the 18th century.  Independence Square is an important stop, comprised of Independence Hall, where the United States Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were adopted. The inspiring Liberty Bell resides here too. ‘It’s all about the milk chocolate!’ on the Hershey Factory tour, nestled in the fertile dairy lands surrounding Hershey, a boutique village common in this part of rural Pennsylvania. This delightful sensory experience bursts with wonderful smells, sweet samplings, and plenty of shopping.

WDC - MARYLAND - LINCOLN MEMORIALOur ‘monumental experience’ in Washington, DC (Metro Adventure #4) begins in College Park, Maryland at the well-known and beloved Cherry Hill RV Park.  Five days here flies by in a flash!  A guided city tour includes the Capitol and Library of Congress, Arlington National Cemetery, the Women’s War Memorial and the Marine Corps War Memorial commemorating the victory of Iwo Jima. Stately Annapolis, Maryland is a stop for a tour of the United States Naval Academy to see where future officers live and train. We visit Fort McHenry whose defense during the Battle of Baltimore inspired Francis Scott Key to write ‘The Star Spangled Banner.’ You’re able to customize your tour of the Smithsonian with roundtrip bus transportation to the museum complex, all provided by Fantasy.  An additional free day on the itinerary allows you to explore Washington, DC on your own, using the efficient and easy transportation available from the RV park.

COLONIAL WILLIAMSBURGHistory literally comes to life in Colonial Williamsburg where actors in period costume depict daily Colonial life.  Enjoy a hearty lunch at a well-known rustic, reproduction tavern where the serves dress and speak in 18th-century fashion.

Onward to the lovely coastline of the Carolinas!  First stop is Cape Hatteras, filled with many interesting things to do.  We begin here with a guided tour of the barrier islands that separate the mainland from the Atlantic Ocean, aka the Outer Banks.  We visit the Wright Brothers Memorial in Kitty Hawk, which was specifically chosen by the Wright Brothers for their aeronautical experimentation because it met their requirements for an isolated site with steady winds, high sand dunes (to cushion falls!) and limited obstructions.  Visiting some of the historic lighthouses dotting the coastline completes our exploration of this captivating vacation destination.

We answer the siren call of South Carolina’s 60-mile stretch of subtropical beaches upon arrival in the luxurious resort area of Myrtle Beach.  Our beach party gets started with a grand seafood and country buffet dinner, and just keeps growing with live musical entertainment at the Alabama Theatre.

Bidding farewell to Myrtle, we head south to the charming cobblestone streets, horse-drawn carriages and pastel antebellum homes of Charleston. Southern hospitality starts now!  We begin with a USS Yorktown Maritime Museum and Patriots Point tour.  The USS Yorktown was the tenth aircraft carrier to serve in the United States Navy. We take a comprehensive tour of Boone Hall Plantation, one of the country’s oldest living, working and producing plantations.  Boone Hall Plantation is also the only plantation in the country to offer a live “Gullah Presentation,” a live performance depicting the unique culture adapted by African slaves.

SavannahSavannah, the favorite Southern belle of all coastal Georgia cities, is a visual feast full of large parks dripping with Spanish moss and magnolias, beckoning visitors in for a closer look.  A strategic port city in the American Revolution and during the American Civil War, Savannah remains so today.  Oozing with Southern charm, a guided trolley tour takes us through historic homes and squares. No visit to Savannah would be complete without a lunch stop at Paula Deene’s restaurant for some downhome Southern-style specialties!

 

Reluctantly, we’ve reached the welcoming white and oh yes, warm sandy shores of St. Augustine, Florida, the oldest city in the United States — more than 450 years old in fact!  As the locals joke, ‘So Much to Sea Here!’ A non-scripted Red Train Tour around the city’s cobblestone streets takes us to all the city’s highlights, including the St. Augustine Lighthouse.  Of special note is a stop at the 15-acre Fountain of Youth archaeological park for its restorative natural spring waters.  No guarantees, but it’s certainly worth a try! By now you know we eat often and well on a Fantasy tour. Here we enjoy a uniquely delicious farewell Cuban lunch and the traditional goodbye continental breakfast.ST AUGUSTINE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH

In 40 days we drive just under 2,000 miles from north to south, cool to warm, traveling in a Fantasy dream sequence on this Grand East Coast dream route. We have taken our sweet time to absorb and savor the culture, history and seasonal flavors of each destination. History, heritage, and hospitality have greeted us at every stop. Most importantly, we’ve shared our experiences with the new friends we’ve traveled with all along the way.