Las Vegas Strip: You won’t get tired of exploring it!

The last leg of our 2016 year-end tour to the West Coast was 3 days in the gorgeous Las Vegas.

We were staying in Bally’s (right in the middle of the world-famous Strip), so most of the hotels and casinos were within walking distance. I was so attracted to the fountains of Bellagio, which were just across the street, that I visited them quite a few times during our stay – don’t miss them!best of las vegasbelloagio fountainsfuntains in the nightLV has many theme-based resort hotels and casinos, and you can cover almost all of them just by walking. Based on where you are put up on the strip (and I strongly suggest staying where most of the action is), some might feel a bit further away (the length of the strip is 6.8 kilometers or 4.2 miles), so you can take a bus to reach them. There are a few free trams also, but they cover only certain hotels on the west side. Our rental car allowed us to explore with ease…we just had to take our car out once and park at the New York Hotel and Casino, that allowed us access to the furthest end of the strip on the south (Mandalay Bay casino). The North end leads to the Fremont Street, which is a spectacle in itself (we visited it one evening – we parked at the roadside paid slots)!

The entire strip looks quite scenic in the night when the multitude of lights show-off their elegance. However, each hotel has its own charm and should be visited both during the day and night. Some are worth multiple visits too depending on your interests. We spent a lot of time in The Venetian (has Gondola rides in the hotel, much like in Venice), Bellagio’s (stunning year-end celebrations and fountains outside are a sheer delight), and Caesars Palace (based on Roman architecture, and even has life-sized Gods in there). There is no fees to explore any of these hotels from inside, you might have to pay for individual attractions though (e.g. Gondola ride).

The Venetian: Visit to enjoy shopping arcade, gondola rides, food, and stunning venice-themed architecture.what to see in las vegasgondola venetian las vegasbest of lvbest hotel in las vegasCaesars Palace: Visit to enjoy tryst with the roman architecture, fall of atlantis show, and luxury shopping.caesars las vegas.jpgnew year in las vegascaesars palaceroman architecture las vegasThough we were in LV for 3 days, I would suggest keeping a week if you want to explore each resort thoroughly and indulge in some serious shopping too – you can spend as much as you want to as all the luxury brands are present there! Even if you just like long walks, your eyes won’t get tired of admiring the hotels from the outside – day or night!new york hotel las vegasbest hotel in las vegas nevadaluxor hotel and casinomgm grand las vegasthe mirage hoteldisney las vegasOne last thing we did in Las Vegas was to take the High Roller ride, currently the world’s tallest ferris wheel. More on that in the next post…

How to clear United States H1, L1, and B2 Visa Interviews

If you have ever applied for a Visa to the United States, you would have surely wondered how to (desperately) clear the same. But because of the ever changing scrutiny requirements that the Officers put us through, the job is hardly a cakewalk! Having been through multiple H1B and one L1B Visa Interviews in New Delhi, and recently issued B2 (Tourist) visa in Toronto, I can say it is not as dreadful as it is made out to be. It does entail a thorough preparation though, unlike Tourist Visa to many other countries (say Canada), which can be obtained without much of an effort.alok singhal us visaI left the United States after completing 6 years in May this year, having entered on L1B in April 2011 and going through multiple H1Bs during my stay there (because of either a job change or stamping required in India when I went on vacation). It sounded a pretty daunting and nerve-racking task during my first 2 interviews, but now I have gotten used to it.

While there is no sure-shot way to clear the US Visa Interviews, here’s how you can do your best:

1. Proper paperwork: Since H1 and L1 Visas are sponsored through your employer, make sure they file all the documents required. Most of it would be either filled-in or provided by you, so do your best. If you work for a renowned firm with a global presence, it makes life all the more easier.

I turned down a high paying job offer through a third party for Bank of America just because it was through that ‘third party.’ I was promised it would be a direct position with the client before interviews, but after clearing 5 rounds, BoA decided to bring me as a Vendor Consultant for a year (they did the same for all other such positions also). Well, I turned down the offer and continued with my current firm for about 50k USD less annually, because I work for a big brand name!

2. Prepare well in advance: Nothing beats preparing well for any interview…that would help you feel easy with any questions thrown at you. Do check experiences of people who have gone to the same embassy where you are appearing, but take insights with a pinch of salt since every case is different. People might say rubbish since they want to let our their frustration if they are declined, just move on to the next case.

If you have never faked any point in your resume (I never did so), you wouldn’t have to make up excuses, and that goes a long way in feeling comfortable. Ascertain that the original documents that you need for the interview are all there in a transparent file and you wouldn’t have to scamper around if asked for a specific paper in the interview.

3. Just before the interview: Dress professionally if you are appearing for a Work Permit based Visa. I have seen people working for top Investment Banks in the US and coming to office in bathroom sandals. How cheap! Nobody is asking you to wear a suit and a tie during peak of summer, but don’t go there in Jeans and a Tee…make sure the shirt and trouser is ironed properly and shoes are polished (search internet for what is a proper attire).

Remember, some interviews are high-profile – they could make or break your career. Don’t take any chances just because you are not well prepared!

4. During the interview: Even if you are standing in the queue, appear confident – don’t slouch. And always wear a smile! I have cleared 80% of my interviews in life just because I was confident, smiled, and relaxed. Many interviewers might reject you just because you look highly nervous (indicating you are hiding something). Again, if you are genuine, you wouldn’t have to worry there.

If you can, make the discussion with the officer a bit humorous. Many of us live stressful lives, so making the moment lively comes in handy. Don’t take it to the extreme though, or appear over-smart. This point is only for people who have mastered the art of balancing the situation.

If you’ve done your bit, most likely you will come out happy. In the event you are rejected for whatever reason, take solace in the fact that you did your best – you might crack it next time!

*Picture sourced from here

4 years with Toastmasters – a journey worth every meeting!

I joined Toastmasters in New York by signing up with Bryant Park club on Oct 1 2013 – I can’t imagine it’s been 4 years already! Though I moved on from there to Warren in New Jersey in Feb 2014, and to Mississauga in Canada in May 2017, I have continued my membership with Citigroup corporate club at each place (luckily, there is/was one). I have written about what Toastmasters is here and here. In fact, I have a news from early last month also – I came in 2nd in the Area 43 contest for Impromptu Speaking (called Table Topics). alok singhalIf you’ve followed me for long, you might know that I won the Area 34 International Speech contest in April this year (in the US), but couldn’t do well at the Division level. Anyway, life is not just about winning, it is more about learning at every step of the way.

It has been my absolute pleasure to be a part of such a fabulous program, which is non-profit by the way! In the 200 or so weekly meetings that have happened in the past 4 years, I must have attended at least 185 of them – such has been my enthusiasm, mostly because of the learnings and fun they provide. I just go to every meeting not thinking about my professional or person life and willing to take in whatever comes. I strong advice you too to find a club nearby by going to https://www.toastmasters.org/ and maybe just walk by to see what happens there for a start. Most likely, you will come back happy and will sign-up!

I can personally lay down the benefits I have seen in myself. I have more confidence in speaking with strangers now, my humor quotient has gone up, and there is that feeling of doing something different than what most of us do on a regular basis. Btw, Toastmasters is not just about Public Speaking as many wrongly understand it to be – the learnings you get while speaking to a group in a friendly environment can be used in everyday life – imagine not slouching while speaking, using proper hand gestures or body language, making eye contact, or just motivating or inspiring people around you. And the price to pay – well, just $45 every 6 months! In fact, many professional speakers around the world rehearse their speech in the club(s) they are associated with before they enthrall their audience at the big stage.

So, what are you waiting for?

#CelebratingSuper with Initiatives by Vodafone

We lived in NCR for a long time, till we moved to the US in April 2011. A major reason to move out of India was to enjoy the quality of life in the West. Having lived in the states for 6 years and now in Canada for half-a-year, I can safely say that NCR was the most polluted region we’ve ever stayed in. Blame it either on the Government or people not doing their bit to at least keep their surroundings clean, the experience was nightmarish! I’ve never stayed in the region since I left it about 7 years back, but as I write this post from my hometown Ambala, I can assure you that my city is much better compared to what we endured back then in the NCR.

Having traveled extensively across countries, I feel there is a basic level of environmental cleanliness that we all expect. Who has to provide for it is dependent on both public and the private sector. The government has to initiate it and people have to follow on it, or it could be totally led by individuals too! To bring about a change, we are equally responsible as is the Government that we depend (and blame) on.

Let’s take the example of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. The other day when I was traveling from Ambala towards Delhi, I saw workers cleaning NH1, which left me awestruck! I had never seen anybody cleaning highways before. Or take the example of folks taking away Trash from our home every morning. These are highly commendable steps taken by the Government. Think about people working at the grassroots towards the benefit of our country – it is so difficult to achieve in a country like ours! I believe the change is coming! In fact, when I landed in Delhi a fortnight back, I was so happy to see the new airport that I started clicking pictures of the same. Here is one such shot of an artwork against a waterfall:alok singhal delhiTalk about our National Capital:

I have read a lot about Supreme Court banning the use of Firecrackers on Diwali – a step which saved 1000s, to say the least! Yes, it discomforted many, but then didn’t I say we have to do our bit too? After all, it is us who are going to lead better lives!

The other step is introducing Metro far and wide in the region. If we all commit to using it rather than taking our own vehicle wherever possible, we would help reduce congestion on roads, which has numerous benefits. I remember taking the bus to and from New York for 2 years for work (I didn’t even buy a car). And I am not alone…If you ever go to Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York, you would see long queues for buses in the evenings. This has helped New York authorities to maintain the smooth flow of traffic in the already congested city.

Vodafone has taken a few initiatives too! The created the first air-purifying bus shelter in the city to help people breather clean it. They have committed to the digital revolution in the capital, so we can enjoy the benefits of technology while on the move. When I was in the New York area, I didn’t have a data plan on my phone. I used to make use of hotspots provided by my home internet provider there. Same is being done in the NCR by Vodafone. They have provided 120 hotspots at popular locations in NCR. Maybe in a few years, we will be close to where New York is in terms of quality of life and bringing the power of technology to the common man!

There is a lot yet to be done but the steps taken by the Government and Vodafone will lay the foundation for us follow it. It is only through a consistent and dedicated effort that we can bring about a real change in our lives!

https://www.vodafone.in/home-delhi

Sell second-hand devices at first-hand prices on Cashify

I’m obsessed with the latest technology. I change my iPhone every year! However, with every new launch comes the liability of getting rid of the old model. I’m unlike my father and father-in-law who passionately accumulate the old junk. They are alien to the concept of throwing away old or unused things. My father still owns the Beltek TV which was a luxury in the 80s. It’s antique now, though. I’m not like them. I trade-off or sell my gadgets as I’m not rich enough to donate iPhones.

My obsession perfectly captured by Sarualok saru singhal

Here’s the Beltek TV we have – Someday, I hope to sell it for a fortune 🙂alok beltek television

Last year when I upgraded to iPhone 7 plus, I thought of selling my older model 6 plus. The market value of that phone was about Rs 25,000. My device was in a perfect condition – no scratch, no software issue; even the USB charger, and headphones were in brand new condition.

With high hopes, I went to the store that specializes in selling second-hand gadgets. He, being the leader in the market, offered Rs 21,000. I was not-so-happy with the price, so I went on to explore the market in an attempt to get a better deal. And from there started a journey of hilarious excuses. Read the top-rated replies for justifying measly sum offered for an almost-new iPhone:

  • Sir, iPhone yahan koi nahi use karta, yahan to Lava, Nokia ya Samsung chalte hain. Aapko jaldi hai to hum le lenge.

And that day, Apple valuation dropped from a multi-billion dollar company to an unwanted brand!

  • Bhaiya iPhone ho ya Mercedes, ek baar showroom se nikal gayi to bas value khatam. Aap Singhal Sahab ke bete ho is liye Rs 15,200 le lo.

What! Singhal brand name is bigger than Apple in Ambala 😛

  • Phone hai – yes! Charger hai – yes (examines it in between). Headphones hain – yes! Box hai, bill hai – Haan bhai!

         Fir aap internet pe bech do!

Seems some are not confident Apple will sell in a city where every other person is aspiring to buy it!

  • Bhaiya hum sare phone le lete hain bus iPhone nahin – Kyun?

Repair nahi hoti yahan iss ki. Agar koi problem ho gayi baad mein to kya aap repair karwa denge?

From an iPhone user to a mechanic, he demoted me in a fraction of a second. After that, I felt like selling myself just to check my market value. Or, maybe, boost my morale!

A little frustrated but thoroughly entertained, I finally met a sensible shopper who lifted my spirits for a good 5-minutes.

  • ‘Yes sir, we will take your iPhone and give you the best deal.’ I was impressed with his English! After examining my phone and its various components, he offered a deal which can put an apple user in doubt. ‘I will take this phone and you can buy any phone from our shop at 50% off.’ And that was the end of my patience. Needless to say hopes, too. I gave up! It made more sense to give my iPhone to a family member than to sell it at a measly price. Later on, the first shopkeeper who offered me 21k refused as the price was valid for that moment. ‘Yahan to price daily change hote hain!’ was his reply.

Now that iPhone X is available, I’m not bothered about disposing of my old one. Why you ask? I’ve discovered a cool app that makes selling old gadgets easy. Cashify – a place where we can sell old devices in just 60-seconds. Submit all the relevant information, get the quote instantly, a representative would come to pick it at your place and will give you the quoted price in cash. Easy, right?

Not only selling phones, tabs, and laptops, we can also order a repair, get anti-theft protection, and refer a friend to earn 150 rupees. For readers of this blog, use code CLEANCASH to get 250 rupees extra next time you sell your device on Cashify. Don’t go through the troubles I faced or the guy in this video endured. Instead, use Cashify to #CleanUpCashOut your old devices.

To know more about the services offered by Cashify, head to https://www.cashify.com

Memorable Vacation in Goa with Hard Rock Hotel

After my impromptu escapade to the Sunset Beach in Cape May, I developed a strong connection with the Beaches. I witnessed a spectacular sunset on the first day of the year in 2015. I marveled at the color, paintbrush-like strokes in the sky, and the serenity it brings. For me, beaches are mesmerizing. The sheer beauty of it can never be explained in words. You have to travel to such fabulous places to experience it! As a beach lover, I have a long wishlist of places I intend to cover…it has the best beaches from all over the world. I’ve covered a few already – Bondi beach in Sydney, South beach in Miami, and the recently visited Sauble beach in Ontario, Canada.

Goa is one such destination that is on the top of my mind for over a decade. And why not? It’s the best beach destination in our country! I’ve talked to many foreigners who itch to travel to this beauty. In fact, in 2007, I made all the arrangements for a vacation to Goa for my entire family. Planes tickets were booked, hotel arrangements were made, but as luck would have it we had to cancel it at the last minute. Since, my resolve to travel to the top beach destination in India has gone up. 

Speaking of beaches, it takes a lot to find one and then do an extensive research on the same. I plan all the details to the T. Here is how it goes for me:

  • Scout for the best beach in a country. My idea of the best beach is one that is less crowded, has clear water, and an exquisite quality of sand.
  • Search online for the best places to capture sunrise and sunset. Wherever I travel, I always find the company of professional photographers…essentially telling me I am at the right spot! They bring their tripods and expensive lenses to shoot gorgeous dawn and dusk. There are hundreds of online communities where one can find all the relevant information related to sunset/sunrise photography. Just do your research.
  • Stay close to attractions and not far away from the beach. It comes at a price, but when you account for the time savings and travel cost to-and-fro from far-off hotels, on-beach properties make for a better deal. You get to experience the exuberance of the crowd, activities that are centered around the beach, and can head to your hotel when you want to. Other reasons on one side, the experience of living close to the center of all the action is amazing.
  • A trip to the beach is incomplete without an adventure sport. To make sure I don’t spend an outrageous amount that can dwindle my budget, I rely on two sources – online deals and coupons available at the hotel. Every hotel at a tourist destination has a corner in the lobby where one can find pamphlets of all the attractions and activities nearby. I make use of these and suggest you do too. I saved nearly $50 with such a pamphlet on Q1 tickets in Gold Coast, Australia…and I have many such examples!
  • Last but not the least, I stay at a hotel that provides meals. If not a full-fledged restaurant than at least breakfast buffet. I don’t like to spend an hour looking out for breakfast options. I like to get ready early morning, have breakfast, and head out to the attraction. By going early, one can easily avoid traffic and long queues at the attraction.

With these specifics in mind, I found that staying at the Hard Rock Hotel Goa would guarantee an unforgettable trip. Situated on Calangute beach, all the major Goa attractions are at a convenient distance to it. The hotel has all the necessities I want and all the luxuries my wife craves for – restaurant, coffee shop, gym, pool, lounge, and tastefully decorated rooms. It’s a 4-star hotel and is surprisingly well-priced. After reading stellar reviews of this property, I’ve already chosen it for my Goa trip. Here are a few pictures of the hotel.Hard Rock Goa 1Hard Rock Goa 2Hard Rock Goa 3Hard Rock Goa 4Hard Rock Goa 5If you are planning to head to Goa for holidays, Hard Rock Hotel is an option that you should definitely explore. In case you visit there before I do, don’t forget to share your experience.

Of Diwali and India Visits…

It is that time of the year when you should be in India – to celebrate Diwali, the festival of lights! This year the D-day is October 19.

Well, I long for celebrating Diwali in India every year, but my work doesn’t allow me to take off between September through November. Every year, the deadlines get pushed back and everything piles-up to be completed in October or November…nobody tinkers with the Christmas time in the West though! So, early this year, I closed it with my manager to allow me to be in India to indulge in the festivities with the family back home. And, gladly, we are taking off for New Delhi tonight 🙂

alok singhal diwali
This was shot last year on Diwali in the US
Actually, had it not been for a medical emergency in September, we would have spent a few weeks in Europe (my dream destination) and then a couple in India. We had to cancel our bookings at the last moment. We are sort of fine now, but the situation threw us off physically and monetarily. Whoever said “Man proposes, but God disposes” did say it loud and clear! Anyway, seems my dream will have to wait a bit long.

We were supposed to take off on September 21 and, coincidentally (on the positive side), I achieved all of my Stock Market-related targets for the Indian fiscal year April 2017-March 2018 the same day. What a day for such extremes to happen! The profits came at the expense of many sleepless nights though, because of the time difference between India and US/Canada. I have often questioned myself if I should be doing what I do, but then money does matter. Consequently, I got a bit too ambitious and created another plan to be achieved by the end of 2020. Maybe I should be leading some global firm managing billions of dollars 😛

Just a bit on the markets – I am a huge proponent of the incumbent Modi-led government in India. Things have been looking up ever since he came to power a few years back, courtesy some bold reforms. I expect Indian Stock Markets to remain hot for another few years. Btw, US Markets are not doing bad too…if you had invested money in any of the two a couple of years back, you would know what I mean. Let me not delve deeper into the topic, as I have written on it quite a few times earlier – here and for the Money View blog.

With that, let me wish my Indian readers a very happy and safe Diwali. I’ll be off for a month as our trip will culminate with my sister’s marriage in November.

*I have a few posts in draft and would publish them on the go. Your comments are always welcome 🙂

Looking to relocate to Canada from the US? Think again!

Canada is a hot destination for many these days, courtesy easier (and quick) way to Permanent Residency (PR), free medical benefits and education, and charm of the West! With ever increasing immigration issues in the US and the dream of getting a Green Card (GC) a distant reality, many are thinking about relocating from the neighboring country too. If you are a qualified professional like me, it is even easier!usa vs canadaI moved to Canada from the US in May this year after exhausting my H1B there. I worked for the Financial clients in Boston, New York, and New Jersey during the 6 years that I was there. The move to Canada was not a preferred choice for me – I declined GC request from my firm 2 years back in the hope of moving close to India, with Europe being my preferred destination. In the end, it didn’t work out, and I was left with only one choice – continue with the same project in Toronto area. I had never imagined Canada would be so costly, else I wouldn’t have taken it up in the first place! You can’t blame me for not doing my homework either since the prices have shot up here very recently. Consider this – Canada Immigration is extending PR offer to more than 5,000 people every month, and most of them end up settling down in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).

Let’s get to the comparison of monthly prices which make up most of my budget (prices are rounded-off, and many vary daily):

Just so you know, the salary one gets when you move from the US to Canada is exactly the same, not with the exchange rate adjustment! So, if you were making 100K there, it would be 100K here, in spite of the current exchange rate of 1USD=1.22CADalok singhalDon’t be fooled by the free medical in Canada, which many speak of first. Unless you have to be in the hospital every other day, you won’t really be making good use of it! As for the education, you don’t pay for public schools in the US.

Just so you know, my in-hand salary in Canada is less even after not paying any monthly medical insurance…I would have loved to pay it and not pay extra on everything else! A part of the problem is also that Canada is far less developed compared to the US, which leads to far less competition among vendors, thus leading to higher prices on almost everything (and they won’t come down anytime soon)!

All in all, I am taking a hit of USD1,000 per month! What I am saving here, I could probably save in India also. Yes, the lifestyle is much better and the education is free here, but between the 2 countries, why not settle down in the US, which is better on most parameters?

As for me, I don’t want to settle down in either country…I still have a thing or a two for India. Let’s see.

*The apartment I have now is better than the one in the US, so that price is a bit more for the same standard of living.

**Image sourced from Google, stats are my own

The Grotto in Bruce Peninsula National Park

The Grotto in Tobermory is the best attraction I have been to yet! The natural cove formed over thousands of years is a 4-hour drive north of Toronto and lies within the famous Bruce Peninsula National Park.

As we had already taken the permit for the 12-4 slot (mentioned in the last post), we drove into the park around 11.45am and parked in P1 lot about 5 kilometers further up from the entrance (it is beyond the Cyprus Lake – see map in the last post). The grotto is about a half-hour easy walk from there. There are a couple of trails you can take to reach it – the longer one is along the Horse Lake and shorter one along the Marr Lake, which is what we took.

Once you hit the water, the views are unbelievable! There were hordes of people there, but I took them off the shot to avoid the clutter. It was quite windy that day, so you can’t see anybody swimming out there, but this would make for a perfect spot for anybody wanted to either plunge in the water or just have some nice time alongside. I stood at the edge for a couple of shots and got fully drenched 🙂best beaches in the worldgrotto bruce peninsulaWe followed the Bruce Trail (which goes along the edge) and there is a Grotto Cave just a few meters away. I would imagine had it been a swimmable day, I wouldn’t even have found a suitable platform to snap it!the grottoJust a few meters further up is the Grotto, one which takes a lot of effort to reach as there is no defined pathway leading to it. The folks in the shot below had to find their way down through the rocks that you see in the view (same was on my side too).grotto near torontoThe park is too vast to enjoy fully in a 4-hour window but we did go further to explore a couple of more vistas. If you have time, do go to the Boulder Beach and the Overhanging Point. I wouldn’t say they are as magnificent as the Grotto but would give you some unique views nonetheless.

The boulder beach, as the name suggests, is quite rocky. It is a good spot for some sun-bathing though. You can bring your umbrella and maybe just read a book in the shade!boulder beach bpnpboulder beach bruce peninsulaThe next was to hike up to the Overhanging Point (all the way up in the thick blanket of green in the above shot), but it takes some strenuous hiking for about a kilometer to reach that point. Being the last attraction for us (before we were to head back to the parking), we didn’t want to leave it.views of nature bruce peninsulaoverhanging point bruce peninsulaAs is apparent, the rock has gone through erosion over centuries and now is a spectacular semic circle hanging off the edge.

We leisurely covered what one could do in the allotted time, but if you plan to swim or even go down in the Grotto, you might have to sacrifice on a few spots. Remember, you have to head back to the parking also, which would take at least 30 minutes…and you can’t risk the authorities towing away your vehicle! Btw, you don’t have to follow the same path in reverse to head back, there is a shortcut from the boulder beach which further merges into the Marr Lake trail.

P.S. As mentioned earlier, entry to any National Park in Canada is free this year owing to the country’s 150th anniversary.

The colors of fall at the Acadia National Park

After witnessing a spectacular Sunrise at the summit of Cadillac Mountain in Maine, USA, it was time to experience the fall colors that Acadia is famous for. The best way to do so is by driving on the 27 mile Park Loop Road, which connects the park’s lakes, mountains, forests, and rocky shores, and provides easy access to many stunning views. The road is open from mid-April through November, but a small section is open year-round.

Since we had the yearly pass for all the National Parks in the US, we didn’t have to pay any entry fees (otherwise, a pass can be obtained for $25 per vehicle and is valid for a week). As soon as you enter the park, you can imagine why Acadia is a must-visit during autumn. The fall colors there were not at their peak yet, but were still fabulous to have anybody exclaiming ‘what more!’

There are many pull-off observation points and one should stop at them to see why they are famous for…a leisure trip definitely is a huge plus if you really want to enjoy the bliss of nature! If you are short of time, I would definitely recommend enjoying the following:

Sand Beach: Just walk along the spectacular azure water, or take a swim! The beach is flanked by mountains on 3 sides and we walked from end-to-end against this lovely backdrop. The clouds that were hovering around in the morning provided for a mystical experience!sand beach acadiasand beach acadia np mainephotography in acadiaThunder Hole: A small crack in the cave along the shoreline where waves crash into the hole. The ideal time to witness the road of air and water is when the tide is midway between high and low. Since you can’t time it perfectly, just enjoy whenever you are there!thunder hole mainethunder hole acadiaOtter Cliff: There are many cliffs in there…Otter cliff is a famous one! I went further up on a few ledges to enjoy the sound of waves and inhale in the pristine surroundings.viewpoints in acadia national parkEven if you keep driving along, there are many viewpoints where you could just park the car along the road and enjoy the beauty of nature. I especially liked the views of the Frenchman Bay in the distance!islands in acadia maineroad trip in acadia

P.S. During our trip, I found a fascination for smelling the colored leaves but, unfortunately, they don’t smell any different when they are undergoing the color change.