From the Driver’s Seat 2
Having driven all over the Eastern U.S. during the past 21 years as a Greyhound driver, I’m sometimes asked “what’s your favorite route, or city, to drive?” I’ve given it some thought, and I’d have to say that New York City to Montreal, Quebec is certainly one of them. Why? Starting at the New York’s Port Authority Bus Terminal where travelers come from all over the world, we do a quick check of required documents for crossing the border, a peek at their tickets, and then our customers board a premium coach with the latest amenities. As the trip gets underway, the first leg takes us up the New York State Thruway to the state capital of Albany, where customers are afforded a rest stop. . Did you know the Albany bus terminal is located just a stone’s throw from many historic buildings? These include the Capitol Building, The Empire State Plaza and many others, with some reflecting an architectural style from more than 300 years ago. Albany, like many parts of New York State, is a city that’s rich in history and culture.
Our trip continues northward to Saratoga Springs, just about 45 minutes away. There are many cafes and small shops that give a unique flavor to the downtown area of Saratoga (as the locals refer to it).. There’s the Saratoga Performing Arts Center right on the corner, and the city is perhaps best known for the Saratoga Race Course, which opened on Aug. 3, 1863. Once you leave Saratoga and continue north, The Adirondack Northway takes you into an area known as The Adirondack Park, which covers some 6.1 million acres – a land area roughly the size of Vermont and greater than the National Parks of Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Glacier, and Great Smoky Mountains combined. The scenery is simply spectacular, and you pass right through the Adirondack Mountains. Parade Magazine designated the Northway as America’s Most Scenic Highway in 1967. Next stop, Plattsburgh, NY, a city that attracts many shoppers from both the surrounding areas and the nearby international border crossing with Canada, where customers and luggage must be off-loaded and inspected.
Many customers aboard the bus are Canadian citizens. For those who aren’t, a quick interview is usually conducted and then we’re almost there, my friends. But what’s this on the road? The signs have changed from English to French, and the distances are now measured in Kilometers. We have now entered the French-speaking province of Quebec. Some basic French will be helpful, but there are symbols that help those who may not be familiar with the language. It’s approximately 45 minutes from the Canadian border to downtown Montreal, where we arrive at a beautiful new bus terminal in a modern and vibrant city with a European feel. While the bus trip may be over, the sightseeing has just begun. Montreal is a curious place, blending old and new, offering something for all. There are music festivals and outdoor events. Historic Old Montreal is a short distance away, and the subway system will take you wherever your heart desires. For the more adventurous, Quebec City is a few hours to the north by bus. Traveler’s tip: visit a local currency exchange and try to use only Canadian money when possible. If this sounds like something you’re interested in, come on down to The Big Apple. One of our friendly coach operators would love to have you aboard.