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How to Celebrate a Traditional American Thanksgiving 

Today (November 26) is American Thanksgiving, a day put aside for American people to give thanks for what they have. Though it may be a little different in 2020, it is a hugely important holiday across the pond.

So what exactly makes a traditional Thanksgiving holiday for our American cousins?


The Turkey Pardon 

Every year, during a ceremony at the White House shortly before Thanksgiving, the President receives a gift of live turkeys. During his presidency, George H. W. Bush set a new tradition, where a ‘pardon’ is issued to the birds, who then live out the rest of their lives on a farm.

The 2020 pardon happened on Tuesday (November 24), where Donald Trump pardoned turkeys named ‘Corn’ and ‘Cob’. Following the pattern of recent years, the turkeys will be sent to live out the rest of their days at Gobblers Rest at Virginia Tech College of Agriculture & Life Sciences.


The Food 

The meal you eat on Thanksgiving is the centrepiece of the celebrations. At first glance, the feast looks a lot like what you might expect to find on a British Christmas table, including the obligatory turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and gravy.

From there though, it swerves a little to include mashed potatoes (instead of our more favoured roasted ones), sweet cornbread and sweet potato. Dessert is distinctly American too. Pie is the traditional choice and popular flavours include pecan, pumpkin, apple and even sweet potato.


The Wishbone 

Breaking the wishbone of the turkey is a tradition for many families, with the hope that when the bone is snapped, the person who is left with the biggest portion will have their wish granted that year.

The practice is actually an old tradition dating back as far as 700BCE and came about as ancient civilisations believed that birds, such as turkeys, ducks and chickens, were oracles and could tell the future.


Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 

Like many things in 2020, the annual Macy’s Parade may be a little different this year. Since 1924 though, watching the parade on television as the marching bands, floats and huge helium-filled balloons move through the streets of New York, has been a beloved tradition on Thanksgiving morning for many American families.  


Thanksgiving Day Football 

Like the Macy’s Parade, another staple of Thanksgiving television is the annual football game. The first NFL game was played on Thanksgiving Day in 1934, with a game between the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears, which came about because the owner of the Lions’ wanted to improve his teams standing. They have played in also every Thanksgiving game since, with a hiatus only for World War II.


If you’d like to experience some Thanksgiving traditions for yourself next year, we would love to help you plan a holiday to remember, please do get in touch at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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The Most Haunted Buildings in North America

Spooky Season is well and truly here … and it is a BIG deal in the USA and Canada. To celebrate this most creepy of seasons, we wanted to share some of the most haunted places on the continent with you.


Are you brave enough to incorporate any of these into your next road trip, or have you experienced any paranormal activity at any of these locations? We would love to hear! 


The Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast, Fall River, MA

‘Lizzie Borden took an axe …’ You know the rhyme, right?


The Borden family home, and site of Andrew and Abby Borden’s brutal murder in 1892, has now been turned into a museum and bed & breakfast where guests can walk in the footsteps of the family and even stay the night in one of its reportedly haunted rooms.


Andrew & Abby’s daughter Lizzie was long suspected of committing the crime but was never charged, due to a lack of evidence. 


Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia, PA

Opened in 1829, Eastern State was the first US prison to implement solitary confinement, meaning prisoners had virtually no human contact during their stay (hoods were even placed over their heads when they were moved).


Take a tour of the prison, including the cell of infamous criminal Al Capone. You may see an apparition. Many visitors have also claimed to hear the whispers of the former prisoners.


R.M.S. Queen Mary, Long Beach, CA

This ship, which is now a floating hotel in Long Beach, California, has had many lives. It started as a luxury cruise liner in 1936, its passengers including Audrey Hepburn & Elizabeth Taylor. It became a war ship called the ‘Grey Ghost’ in 1939.


Today, the ship is said to be haunted by those who died aboard, including a young sailor who was crushed in the engine room and a crew member who was murdered in cabin B340. 


The Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, CO

Massachusetts couple F.O. & Flora Stanley opened this hotel, the inspiration behind Stephen King’s ‘The Shining’ in 1909 … and reportedly never left.


Mrs. Stanley is reported to play her piano in the music room at night and Mr. Stanley is said to show up in photographs. Bags have been reported to be unpacked, lights turn on and off and children’s laughter has been heard in the hallways.


Stay the night, if you dare, or take a tour of the premises. 


Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, Weston, WV

The facility was opened to patients in 1864 and by 1950, it had 2,400 inhabitants even though it was only designed to house 250. Hundreds of patients, who suffered from a range of afflictions like alcoholism and epilepsy, died here and their spirits are said to haunt the asylum.


You can now tour the building, which officially closed in 1994. 


The Old Spaghetti Factory, Vancouver, BC 

If you travel to Vancouver, go for dinner one night at the Old Spaghetti Factory in Gastown, built above an underground railway track and said to be haunted by four ghosts, including the conductor of a trolley car that forms part of the restaurant's décor.


He is said to sit at the tables in the trolley, rearrange table settings and create inexplicable cold drafts. 


Fairmont Banff Springs, Banff, AB 

Along with being one of the most luxurious hotels in Canada, it is also rumoured to be one of the most haunted.


Built in 1888, it is reportedly home to several ghosts, including a bride who allegedly died falling down the hotel’s marble staircase and a bellman named Samuel McAuley who haunts the corridors dressed in full uniform. During your stay, listen out for the ding of an elevator when no one is around or doors that appear to open on their own. 


Fort Garry Hotel, Winnipeg, MB

There are reports that there is a specific room at this 1913 hotel that has blood trickling down its walls. Guests have also reported seeing a female apparition crying in the hotel’s lobby while others have heard rattling silverware, strange noises and the vague feeling of a presence while staying here.


Visit at your own risk!


Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria, BC

The castle, built in the 1890s by Robert Dunsmuir, is one of Victoria’s most loved tourist attractions and one of its most haunted. Visitors have reported hearing a mysterious piano playing and others claim to have seen a woman in white, supposedly Mrs. Dunsmuir, looking out the window.


Many attribute the castles’ supernatural proclivity to Dunsmuir’s untimely demise just a year before the building was completed.


The Keg Mansion, Toronto, ON

Now a Keg steakhouse in downtown Toronto, the mansion was once the home of industrialist Hart Massey and his family. Legend has it that after the death of Massey’s daughter in 1915, their maid was so distraught that she completed suicide in the building.  


Many diners have reported having seen the maid and several other spirits. So much so, in fact, that the staff at the restaurant keep a ‘ghost log’ to document encounters. 


If you want to go and explore any of these buildings yourself as part of your next roadtrip, contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will be happy to help you put together a spooky flydrive!

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The Best Wildlife Lodges in the USA & Canada

Spending time in the wilderness and away from large crowds may be a priority for many of us as we look to start travelling again in a post-pandemic world. Many of us have also spent our unexpected downtime dreaming about those destinations and experiences that have been on our bucket lists for years. Perhaps yours includes seeing incredible wildlife in their natural habitat? 
America and Canada are home to some of the most picturesque landscapes and amazing wildlife spotting opportunities so we thought we would share with you some of our favourite remote wildlife lodges. 
Maybe a visit is in order in 2021? 

Knight Inlet Lodge, British Columbia, Canada

Offering 2,3 & 4 night packages, Knight Inlet Lodge is located off the coast of Campbell River on Vancouver Island and is accessible only by floatplane. The Inlet is home to one of the largest populations of Grizzly Bears in British Columbia, and it is not uncommon for there to be up to 40 bears within 10 kilometres of the lodge during the peak salmon run period. This easily makes it one of the best places in the country (if not the world) to see bears. 

You can also take a scenic Inlet cruise, taking in the natural wonders of the area; from stunning waterfalls, ancient glaciers and trails carved through mountains. Take a guided walking tour through the rainforest tracking bears as you go or go sea kayaking or whale watching.


Farewell Harbour Lodge, British Columbia, Canada

Farewell Harbour Lodge enjoys a prime location within the border of the renowned Broughton Archipelago Marine Park, making it a true wildlife wonderland. The lodge offers 4, 5, 6 & 7 night packages and is accessible only by water taxi from Alder Bay in northern Vancouver Island. During your stay, you may be lucky enough to see just about every animal Canada is known for, including Grizzlies, Black Bears, Orcas and Humpback Whales as well as Bald Eagles and seals. 

Farewell Harbour also offers specialised wildlife photograpy packages which include 'in the field' and 'evening' workshops, lead by award-winning photography John Lehmann. 


Tutka Bay Lodge, Alaska, USA

Tutka Bay Lodge, on the edge of Kachemak Bay State Park, is accessible by water taxi from Homer. It's remote location makes a haven for wildlife and guests alike. The area is on the migratory route for as many as 25 different bird species so spring is a great time to visit for birdwatching enthusiasts; look out for Black Oystercatchers, Rock Sandpipers and Pacific Golden-Plovers. In summer, take a boat trip across to Gull Island, home to nesting Horned and Tufted Puffins. The iconic Bald Eagle is also a common sight. 

Take a bear viewing flight to a remote beach location to see coastal Brown Bears grazing along the shoreline. The journey there is almost as thrilling; see Alaska's incredible landscape from the air; you'll pass over giant glaciers and even an active volcano (or seven)! You can also go trekking to Grewingk Glacier, where you can even take a short walk to a small lake located at the foot of the glacier and paddle amongst ice floes! You can also take a fishing excursion and catch your own salmon or halibut. 


Tweedsmuir Park Lodge, British Columbia, Canada

Originally built as a hunting and fishing lodge in 1929, Tweedsmuir is located on 60 acres of land in Bella Coola on the edge of Great Bear Rainforest. The accommodations include ten timber-framed chalets on a large lawn, where you may even get to see a grazing bear right from your window. 

The main bear viewing platform is just 300 metres from the lodge, on the banks of the Atnarko River. This means that, unlike many other bear lodges, you won't have to wait for a guided tour and can make your way to the platform whenever you are ready.  


Fogo Island Inn, Newfoundland, Canada

Fogo Island Inn enjoys a remote location off the coast of Gander, Newfoundland, on the far eastern edge of Canada. The island has hundreds of kilometres of trails, making this other-worldly location a paradise for hikers and nature lovers of any description. Every summer, Fogo plays host to hundreds of nesting puffins. Watch out too for visiting pods of whales as they pass. Caribou were introduced here in the mid-twentieth century are still roam freely today. In fact, a caribou crossing the road is usually the cause of most 'traffic jams' on the island. You may also come across foxes, beavers or coyotes during your stay. 

Fogo Island is also located within an area known as 'Iceberg Alley' due to the number of icebergs that float by on their journey down from Greenland; a surreal sight. The best time to spot a 'berg is between mid-May and June. 


Dymond Lake, Nanuk Polar Bear & Seal River Heritage Lodges, Manitoba, Canada

Seeing Polar Bears in the wild is a true bucket list holiday for lots of us and Churchill, Manitoba is the ultimate place to see them. There are 3 lodges here, each offering tours for up to 13 nights. Depending on the time of year that you visit, you can hope to see a huge array of wildlife. As well as Polar Bears, you could also be lucky enough to see Beluga Whales, wolves, Black Bears, moose, foxes and hares. 

Churchill is also a fabulous place to view Aurora Borealis during the winter months. 


This is just a selection of the wildlife and wilderness lodges that are dotted throughout North America. If you would like to visit any of these incredible lodges for yourself, or if you have another one in mind, contact us today to get planning a once-in-a-lifetime trip!

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How are the USA and Canada keeping you safe?

As we continue to move towards the possibility of travelling aboard again, safety is at the forefront of everyone’s mind. So, what are the USA and Canada doing to ensure your safety when you are able to travel back to their countries? 



Most airlines will be in contact with you before you fly so that you are aware of changes taking place throughout your journey


Floor decals will be in use throughout airports to encourage social distancing


Most airlines have incorporated additional cleaning during check in, at boarding gates, on planes and at baggage reclaim especially for high-touch areas such as tray tables, check-in kiosks and onboard toilets


Face coverings will be mandatory whilst in the airport and on the plane


Hand sanitizer stations will be available in select locations throughout the airport, including at security, baggage reclaim and on the plane itself. We also advice keeping your own sanitizer with you at the airport


Many check-in areas, boarding gates and other service desks will make use of plexiglass screens to protect you


Not all check-in desks will be use, creating additional space for social distancing. You may also now be able to scan your own boarding passes when boarding to minimise interaction


Most airlines will now board their planes from back to front, minimising your contact with other passengers. The number of passengers boarding at any one time may also be limited


The number of people deplaning at any one time will be limited


Many airlines have reduced the number of passengers allowed on a flight to accommodate social distancing


Food and drink services both at the airport and on the plane may be limited, depending on the duration of your flight. Snacks may be available but it is advised that you bring your own snacks with you, especially for longer flights


While on the plane, air filtration will refresh the cabin air every two to four minutes


Please be aware that some airports and airlines may operate slightly differently. The above is a summary of the measures in place to help protect you.



Most hotels across the US and Canada are implementing enhanced cleaning protocols. Hand sanitizer will be available throughout the premises


Public spaces and surfaces in guestroom will be thoroughly cleaned more frequently. High touch items may also be removed from guestrooms


Food safety protocols will be enhanced to protect you. Contactless room service may be in place and, where breakfast is included, changes may be made where appropriate to enable social distancing and provide meals to you safely


Temperature checks may be routinely carried out for hotel staff, and in some cases, guests


You may be required to wear a face mask in public areas of your hotel


Floor decals may be in use in public areas to encourage social distancing. Furniture in public areas may also be rearranged to create more space


The maximum occupancy of some areas of the hotel, such as in lifts and fitness centres, may be changed to promote social distancing


Please be aware that some hotels may operate slightly differently. The above is a summary of the measures in place to help protect you.


If you have any questions at all about how we are working together to keep you safe, please do get in touch at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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A Celebration of North American Travel Writing

September 8 is International Literacy Day so to celebrate, we have put together a list of some of our favourite North American travel books to inspire!

1. Wild by Cheryl Strayed sees a woman hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert, through California, Oregon and Washington.

2. On The Road by Jack Kerouac is a classic and follows the authors years of travelling the continent alongside his friend Neal Cassady.

3. Travels With Charley by John Steinbeck sees the iconic author and his dog Charley travel from Maine to Monterey to rediscover his country.

4. State By State, edited by Matt Weiland & Sean Wilsey brings together some of the country’s most well known writers in an appreciation of all 50 states.

5. Beauty Tips From Moose Jaw by Will Ferguson is a book of witty observations of the authors travels across Canada, from Newfoundland in the east to Victoria in the west.

6. The Lost Continent by Bill Bryson sees the author travel 14,000 miles from his home in Iowa, across 38 states, delivering his trademark wit along the way. 

7. All Gone To Look for America by Peter Millar follows the author as he travels from New York to Los Angeles (and back again) by the almighty AMTRAK and the railroads that built the USA. 

8. Wayfaring Stranger by Emma John follows the author as she rediscovers her love of music and, in doing so, finds her spiritual home in America's Deep South. 

9. To Shake The Sleeping Self by Jedidiah Jenkins takes us on a journey of self discovery alongside the author as he cycles from Oregon to Patagonia. 


If all this reading has you inspired to travel for yourself, contact us today to get planning your novel-worthy trip!

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The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) issues essential travel advice on destinations, which includes information on passports, visas, health, safety and security. It is recommended you check the advice up until you travel at www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.

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