On the road with Mauiva AirCruise: dispatches from the journey

Along with two Australian couples and our Italian guide, I left New York before the sun had fully risen, prepared to visit over a six day period – Niagara Falls, Toronto, Hershey, Lancaster and Washington DC with Mauiva AirCruise.

Our flight from Westchester deposited us on the American side of Niagara Falls and we were shuttled in a private bus over the border into Canada to stay for two nights at the Sheraton on the Falls. Riding on the Maid of the Mist boat, straight into the heart of Horseshoe Falls towering mists and seeing a double rainbow generated by the mix of precipitation and sunshine that occurs there 365 days a year was my favorite experience. Though it seemed there was no activity involving Horseshoe, Bridal Veil or the American Falls that we did not do and by the time we departed Canada on our third day, I had had enough of water. During our brief jaunts away from the falls, to Toronto and Niagara-on-the-Lake, I enjoyed the view from the CN Tower and a wine tasting that involved many a sip of Ontario’s sweet and unique icewine.

After landing in Pennsylvania, we headed to the Hershey Factory, where we watched as personalized candy bars were made uniquely for each of us – toffee and pretzel bits in milk chocolate for me. Lunch was in quaint Lancaster where I found the colonial architecture more appealing than the fast food choices for lunch. Moving on to Amish country, we toured a homestead, schoolhouse, working farm, watched cows being milked and learned about Rumspringa by watching, “Jacob’s Choice”. I wondered internally at what my travel companions made of the Amish culture and over dinner at a traditional Amish restaurant we compared and contrasted the Amish and Native Americans with the Aboriginal people of the Australian outback.

That evening, our earliest check-in of the trip at the Double Tree Resort in Lancaster, I found the pool and hot tub still open and fully took advantage of the amenities. Before leaving Pennsylvania the next morning, we stopped in Harrisburg where I was surprised to find their unique green-domed state capitol building quite impressive.


Our first day in Washington DC began with a visit to the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum near Dulles and though we had the least amount of time there, the AV geek inside me so enjoyed seeing the space shuttle, Concorde jet and Enola Gay. The balance of our time that day was spent at the Capitol Building and walking all of the major memorials in a driving rain. Walking around Paris when it is gray is somehow enjoyable in a way doing the same in Washington DC was not. I wondered if a portion of the trip couldn’t have been rearranged for weather. Checking in to the Washington Hilton, bags already waiting in my room, definitely helped to erase some of the effects of such an exhausting day.

The next morning, during a long boat ride down the Potomac to Mt. Vernon, I had time to reflect on what it meant to be in the capital. For the Australians, I suspected it was simply a chance to peek inside America from a political and historical perspective. For me, somewhat uneasy with everything going on in America right now, the experience was already vastly different from the one I had as an impressionable high school student so long ago. I felt my patriotism, even at Arlington National Cemetery, more in check than ever before. In the end, it was the Smithsonian Art Museums I felt most excited by and I was happy to find our visit coincided with the opening of an Andy Warhol exhibit at the Hirshhorn.

Perhaps most surprising about my experience with Mauiva AirCruise was the vast amount of activities we packed into a six day adventure. Because we flew privately between the major cities anchoring our trip and had our own coach for the drives between attractions, typical travel delays were almost non-existent. It’s an experience I would repeat again for even in the locations I’d visited before, I learned something new through the lens of the Mauiva AirCruise experience.