Posts Tagged ‘sunset’

Day 8: Montreal

Saturday, October 3rd, 2015

We woke up on the last day of our cruise with the sunrise again, and we were treated to a spectacular view of Montreal waking up. We had to be off the ship pretty early, so just like that, it was over, but we still had two more days to explore Montreal, and drive home.

We were super lucky that we could get in to our hotel room at 10am, and we were incredibly pleased with our hotel room! Brian and picked out Le St. Martin Hotel Particulier, and it was an excellent choice – one of the highlights of the trip. Spacious, great decor, a fireplace and a ginormous tub, with a sliding door opening up to the rest of the room. We settled in a bit, then took off to explore Montreal.

We headed straight to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, which has a wonderful collection in a cluster of lovely buildings. They have a cut-out model of Florence’s Duomo, which was pretty incredible to see. Then we headed over to the Notre-Dame Basilica, which was absolutely phenomenal. It was easily the largest of the many churches we saw this week, and the deep blues and greens of the altar and the vaulted ceiling were incredible!

After a warm croissant or two, we continued wandering around. Later in the evening, we visited another church very close to our hotel, the Basilica of Mary Queen of the World (sounds better in French). It was very beautiful and peaceful, and it had a baldacchino altar very similar (but smaller) to the one at St. Peter’s in the Vatican.

We continued our evening stroll through a neighborhood with tons of shopping and McGill students, found some dinner, then headed back to our cozy hotel to relax for the evening. We’re happy, exhausted, and ready to head home!

Day 7: Quebec City

Friday, October 2nd, 2015

The timing of the sunrise and our arrival in Quebec coincided perfectly, and I got to see the Quebec skyline in a lovely red glow first thing this morning. I also got to see the Montmorency Falls, which is something I had heard of and knew we would likely miss, but I saw the enormous waterfall at a distance as we passed Ile d’Orleans just before arriving in Quebec City.

We got off of the ship, and soon found ourselves in the very Medieval-looking square of Place Royal. It was still pretty early, so we made a few mental notes of places to visit later, and continued towards Chateau Frontenac. My boss, who knows that stairs are often my enemy, warned me about the huge stairways leading up to Frontenac, and I’m grateful for his advice to take the finicular instead – great views of harbor as we went up!

We checked out Chateau Frontenac, a massive hotel that completely dominates Quebec’s landscape, and then we wandered down the boardwalk, with lots of great views of the river. Then we spent the next few hours in our usual routine of exploring a new city by way of its churches, cafes and jewelry stores.

First, the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, then the Basilica of Notre Dame, and by that point, I was long overdue for my first crepe in Canada! Chocolate crepes make excellent lunches, and then we were on our way again. We wandered through the lovely streets, did a bit of shopping, found a lovely little art market, then turned a corner and ‘discovered’ what turned out to be one of my favorite churches of our whole trip: the Chalmers-Wesley branch of the United Church of Canada. When we stepped inside, I was struck by two things simultaneously: it was very beautiful and very very quiet. For a few precious minutes before other tourists showed up, we were alone in the church with one other guy, and it was utterly completely totally silent! It was quite a treat, and of course, so was the stained glass.

We worked our way back to the boardwalk that led back to Frontenac, back to the funicular, and back to Place Royal to check out a handful of really beautiful shops, and eventually back on to the ship to make the most of our last evening aboard the Maasdam. As I’m writing this, I’m in a café on the ship as we’re leaving Quebec, and we’re travelling along the St. Lawrence River towards Montreal … heading out in a few minutes to watch the sun set along the St. Lawrence.

Brian’s Photos:

Day 6: Gulf of St. Lawrence

Thursday, October 1st, 2015

Although I had planned to sleep in on our full day at sea, I found myself awake at 4am because our bed (and the whole ship) was listing to port (towards my feet), and then I heard the somewhat amusing sound of my bedside drawers, and the drawers in several nearby rooms, sliding open all at once. As we continued to ride what must have been some pretty big waves, I managed to get back to sleep but only for a short while, and we headed up for an early breakfast where we all found it challenging to carry our food to our tables without stumbling as the ship continued to ride very choppy waves. I was rather pleased with myself for not falling over, but I did spill coffee on myself.

In his typical dry tone, our captain announced that the overnight weather forecast had turned out to be completely incorrect, and what was supposed to be “a little bit windy” actually turned out to be hurricane-level winds.

After a mid-morning nap, and calmer seas, we were ready for our day at sea: reading, drawing, walking and eating. It actually turned out to be a very clear blue day, with great views of New Brunswick in the distance!

Day 5: Charlottetown, PEI

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

I started and ended our visit to Charlottetown on the 9th deck forward where I could enjoy a panoramic view as we came and went through Charlottetown Harbor. From there, we got to see lots of Prince Edward Island’s famous red cliffs, and we enjoyed the dusty rose colored rocks, sands and soil throughout our day. The soil is red due to the iron content, and it became a lovely shade of brick red when it rained in the afternoon.

We spent a few hours in the morning exploring Charlottetown, starting with St. Dunstan’s Cathedral, which is one of C-town’s most recognizable buildings, with three spires that I stood out in the skyline as we arrived this morning. It was incredibly beautiful, and it had some of my favorite stained glass of the whole week. We wandered around a bit, past the shops on Victoria Row and down Great George Street and in to Amos Pewter to continue our shopping. I was desperately in need of a lobster roll, so we postponed our shopping til later.

We had scored a complimentary shore excursion through our travel agent, so we boarded a bus around lunchtime, and listened to a very pleasant PEI native talk us through an hour-long drive on the trans-Canada highway, through gorgeous farmland filled with lush green grass, yellow crops, and red soil. We hopped out to see Confederation Bridge, at 9 miles, the longest bridge over icy water in the world, and we also hopped out at Gateway Village for a little shopping, then back on the bus for a lovely nap on the way back to Charlottetown.

We headed straight back to Amos Pewter to make a few purchases, and we were treated to a very cool demonstration. Liquid pewter is pretty amazing, and he showed us how it becomes a solid very quickly by splashing some liquid pewter directly on to his workstation, then picking it up a moment later as a solid.

Back on the ship, we enjoyed a late-afternoon snack of the incredibly fresh PEI mussels that they were serving on the Lido Deck, then we headed to my new favorite spot on the 9th deck to watch as we headed out of Charlottetown Harbor and north towards the Gulf of St. Lawrence.


Day 3: Halifax, Nova Scotia

Monday, September 28th, 2015

This morning, I got to see the reverse of what I saw as we left Boston: the sun rose on one side of the ship, while the moon was low in the sky on the other!

In Halifax, we arrived at Pier 21 and almost immediately, found a shop we had been looking forward to: Amos Pewter. It’s a local Nova Scotian company that makes pewter crafts that we both love, and we made a plan to end our day there. We walked along Halifax’s boardwalk and explored the touristy area long the pier, then spent some time wandering and hopping on and off the local tourist bus.

We got off at the Halifax Public Gardens, which were really beautiful. The weather was still absolutely incredible, so it was wonderfully peaceful to wander through bright colorful gardens. We circled the whole park, then found a spot for lunch nearby and enjoyed our first poutine in Canada!

We got back on the bus to see the rest of downtown Halifax, learned about the major explosion that shaped Halifax’s history, saw the Citadel and the clock tower, with incredible views of the harbor and the bridge that connects to Dartmouth, then Halifax’s north end, and their distinctive hydrostone buildings made from fire-resistant bricks.

Then we wandered around Murphy’s Landing, a cluster of shops at the pier that had two stores we were looking forward to: Nova Scotian Crystal and Amos Pewter. The crystal is mouth-blown hand-cut crystal, and the shop features lots of views into the workshops where big burly guys were delicately crafting, cutting and etching incredibly gorgeous crystal. Amos Pewter makes incredibly beautiful pewter, some of which is intricately etched with incredibly fine details, and some of which is polished with beautifully smooth curves, and we especially like their somewhat art deco-esque crèche set. We had our eye on a few pieces, which we purchased from the Amos Pewter shop at Pier 21 since we had learned that a portion of the sales at their shop benefit the local children’s hospital.

Back on the ship for another evening of book-reading, sunset-watching, and delightful conversation with random strangers over dinner.

Brian’s Photos:

Day 2: Bar Harbor, Maine

Sunday, September 27th, 2015

Our first port was Bar Harbor, Maine: still well within driving distance of home! Brian and I have fallen in love with Portland, Ogunquit and Boothbay Harbor together, so it was fun to add another Maine must-see to our list!

I knew we were going to land a little ways out of Bar Harbor, then take a tender (basically one of the life boats) over to the pier, but I hadn’t realized until we were on the tender that our ship hadn’t just docked at a larger pier: it had just plain stopped, and it was anchored right in the middle of Frenchman’s Bay!

We had signed up for an excursion … the best of land and sea … so we got right onto a shuttle bus which took us through the town of Bar Harbor, up in to Acadia National Park, and right up to Cadillac Mountain, the largest mountain on the east coast. We only had 20 minutes at the top, but since the weather was gorgeous and the sky was crystal clear, we enjoyed some incredible views of Frenchman’s Bay (we could see our ship!) and all of the many little islands nearby.

Back down through Acadia, off the bus, and straight on to the Margaret Todd, a 4-masted schooner with gorgeous red and orange sails. We took a very pleasant loop around Frenchmen’s Bay, including right around our ship, so we got a great view of it, as well as Cadillac Mountain, the many islands and the hundreds of thousands of lobster traps!

Back on land, we had two hours before we had to be back on the boat, so we headed down Main Street. Bar Harbor looks like so many lovely New England towns (and lots of Maine tourmaline jewelry!). We stopped in a two places we had heard about: the Abbe Museum and St. Saviour’s Episcopal Church, which had lots of different styles of really beautiful stained glass, including several Tiffany windows.

Several hours later, back on the ship, I enjoyed another gorgeous sunset, and it was especially cool to see the sun set on the horizon (with Cadillac Mountain still in view in the distance) knowing that the sun’s job wasn’t done for the day … a few hours later, after a delicious dinner, we got see the sun, the earth and the moon all line up nicely for a supermoon lunar eclipse! We’re told this was a pretty rare and amazing astronomical phenomenon, and on the 13th deck of the ship, we felt like we had front row seats for an incredibly beautiful eclipse. The sky was crystal clear, and of course, it was incredibly windy on the upper decks as we cruised along the coast of Maine towards Nova Scotia.

Brian’s Photos:

Day 1: Boston Harbor

Saturday, September 26th, 2015

It was incredibly cool to leave home in a cab at noon, and arrive at our stateroom aboard the Maasdam  less than 90 minutes later! We wasted no time in exploring the ship, our home away from home for the next week. It’s very similar in a lot of ways to the other Holland America ship we were on for our honeymoon, and it brought back great memories. We were up on the top deck (14th) to watch as the ship pulled away from our beautiful city, with planes flying overhead and landing at Logan, and past all of the harbor islands. Boston’s skyline kept getting smaller and smaller, but we could still see it as the sun set behind us and the nearly full moon rose ahead of us. It’s so rare for me to be able to see so much open sky that the sunset is on my right and the moon is rising on my left!

Brian’s Photos:

Sunset over the Rockies

Sunday, August 23rd, 2015

As we were saying our good-byes to family heading back to the Denver airport, we noticed that the sky had cleared up a bit and the sun was setting over the Rockies in the distance. Hard to capture, but really beautiful.

Old Silver Sunset

Sunday, May 17th, 2015

After a long day of wandering around Martha’s Vineyard, we came back to the hotel and headed straight to the pool! The timing was perfect because by the time we showered off and changed, it was just the right time to pull up a chair on the sand and settle in for the best show on earth: the sun setting on the ocean. Falmouth, MA is one of the rare places on the east coast where the beach faces west, and as we learned in September 2013, the sunsets over Old Silver Beach really are miraculous.


Sea Crest Beach Hotel

Saturday, May 16th, 2015

We arrived at the Sea Crest Beach Hotel on a pleasant cloudy day. We missed out on a perfect sunset because of the clouds, but that’s exactly why we planned to stay more than one day!


Winter Storm Marcus – Sunset on Day 2

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

Major winter storm #3, day 2, 5th snow day of the semester … Mother Nature reminds us that there are colors other than white and gray …

Santa Monica Sunset

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

Before heading to LAX for a red-eye, we watched the sun set in Santa Monica.

Old Silver Sunset

Saturday, September 28th, 2013

One of the best parts about staying at a beach hotel in Falmouth, MA is that the beach faces due west. We watched (and photographed) an incredible sunset from our balcony, and watched the sun sink below the horizon right before our eyes. It was like watching a miracle (cheesy, but honestly true).

The following photos were taken between 6:28pm and 6:34pm, and I lined them up in photoshop because I’m a nerd. Enjoy!

Sunset Walk

Saturday, September 22nd, 2012


Who doesn't love a sunset walk along the river? The sun was setting (and reflecting off the water) directly behind Randy's head.

Kathy, Randy and I met up downtown to take advantage of the gorgeous weather and a perfect dusk. We walked and walked, then enjoyed an amazing dinner, then walked some more! Starting at Park Street, our walk took us towards Government Center, then through the maze of Beacon Hill, past churches I had never seen before, then across the Fiedler Bridge to the Hatch Shell and the Charles River Esplanade (just as the set was setting behind the skyline) and down Mass Ave. We took the T back to Beacon Hill to use a groupon and try out an amazing sushi restaurant, then we walked it off all the way down Charles Street, through Beacon Hill again, past the Public Gardens and then to Copley to wait for my bus. Great exercise with great friends!

Click here for photos from another walk along the Charles River Esplanade

Top of the Hub

Friday, August 24th, 2012

The view from the Top of the Hub

The view from the Top of the Hub, looking east towards the Hancock Tower

To surprise my father for his 60th birthday, mom flew my brother and his girlfriend from LA to Boston. Dad thought he was having dinner with mom and his east coast children, but 6 of us showed up for dinner instead of 4. Dad was very surprised, and the 7 of us sat down to an incredible meal with an incredible view!

Top of the Hub is a restaurant on the 52nd floor of the Prudential Tower, and this was my first time partaking of one of Boston’s most precious gems. The food was amazing. The view was amazing. The sunset was breaktaking, and it was wonderful to have my whole family together.

Flying my brother and his girlfriend to Boston was just the beginning of the surprise. The following day, they kept dad out of the house while the rest of us set up for a backyard BBQ. Dad was expecting just few friends, but a few relatives and a few other friends joined the party to surprise dad for a big all-out end-of-summer festive summer bbq.

For pictures from the entire weekend, please click here — the password is dad’s middle name

The view from Top of the Hub

Boothbay Harbor

Saturday, August 18th, 2012

Boothbay Harbor

Moments after arriving in Boothbay Harbor, we took in the spectacular view from the porch of the Greenleaf Inn

Maine is a treasure, and the Greenleaf Inn in Boothbay Harbor is a gem. Five DiMattias spent a lovely New Englandy weekend wandering in and out of shops, eating incredible meals, sitting on shady porches and watching the sailboats.

Charlestown sunset

Saturday, July 14th, 2012

The USS Constitution is the world’s oldest commissioned naval vessel, and it’s parked right near our friend’s apartment in Charlestown. They set off a cannon every day at 8am and at sunset, so we went up on to the roof to watch the last moments of a bright pink sunset (with the Bunker Hill Monument on the left), then watch as boats of full of tourists arrived for the USS Constitution‘s daily ritual.



Some landmarks in this photo: Old North Church (the white steeple on the far left), the Hancock Tower (the bluish squarish building in the middle), The USS Constitution and the Zakim bridge on the far right

Harborside Sunset

Friday, December 30th, 2011






Sunset Boston Harbor Cruise

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

Another groupon … we took another incredibly pleasant cruise around Boston harbor during a beautiful foggy sunset.

The USS Constitution marks every dawn and dusk with a canon blast. Remind me never to move to Charlestown, but it was a lovely little ceremony.

Looking towards East Boston and Logan Airport during the whole to our cruise we had a great view of the hotel where we’re getting married next March.

The fog really started to settle over the city as we headed further away from downtown towards the Boston Harbor Islands

My second favorite shot from this group: the ocean meets the sky and both seem endless

Turning around to head back to the city, which we can barely see.

The lights start to break through the clouds and the city comes into view …

This is unedited you really could see a clear line between hazy fog and crystal clear water

Pulling back into Long Wharf