East Coast Road TripPosted: September 9, 2011
I had a bunch of time away from work and decided to spend some of it road-tripping down the east-coast. In my quest to visit all 50 states, I’m left with 12 to visit after this trip. The Northern Plains and the Pac-Northwest remain along with HI and AK.
I’ll do my normal trip breakdown since I know you love it:
Rented a car and hit the road. CH had never been to Niagara Falls so we took a quick detour to ride the Maid of the Mist. Did the tour of the falls and got back in the car to drive through the Finger Lakes through upstate New York. We avoided the interstate and took Route 3 through Adirondacks, which was an incredible drive. It’s a different world up there, a part of Appalachia I haven’t seen before. Pines everywhere gave the place a unique smell. It was a lot cooler, too, a nice drive through winding mountain roads on a crisp night. We jammed through the state, passing little ski towns and shantys. We made it to the Lake Champlain Ferry and caught the night’s last boat to Vermont.
Woke up in some hotel and quickly did the Vermont Teddy Bear tour. Grabbed some coffee at Village Win and Coffee where the barista knew every local’s name. We burned through the Magic Hat Brewery in South Burlington but felt it was too early to have a drink. Everyone there was saying how unusually humid it was, but it honestly felt like a chilly 50° to us. From here, it was a pretty drive to Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream. We had a small serving and then hit the road to the Cold Hollow Cider Mill which was nice. Good cider in donuts, just like Ohio. We cranked up some Phish and in no time made it to New Hampshire’s White Mountains, which were marvelous. It was pleasantly desolate, houses scattered about white birches.
We crossed the state line headed for Bangor, Maine. CH drove while I did some schoolwork. We used Yelp to track down The Eagle’s Nest, a hole-in-the-wall eatery which apparently was known for the best lobster roll around. It was good. It was about 8:30 and after driving all day, our plan was to shack up early for the night. It was Labor Day weekend and we quickly realized that every hotel within an hours drive in every direction was booked. I had a guide and must have called about 15 different places. Finally, a lady directed us to the last hotel room in the state of Maine, a small hotel a one hour drive north (out of our way!) in Lincoln.
We drove to Lincoln, paid the $79 for the room before the front-desk lady said, “OK, follow me in my car, it’s just up the street.” Not exactly traditional directions to a hotel room… We followed her and were brought to an old house and went up stairs to a legitimate efficiency apartment. It was OK, super creepy and kind of dated, but more preferable than sleeping in our rental car. Still odd staying in a fully furnished musty apartment in northern Maine.
We left the house and dropped the key back at the real motel. Hopped on 95 south and headed for Bar Harbor, Maine. We booked a sailing tour and had a small lunch of seafood tapas at Sips in Southwest Harbor. Southwest Harbor was really nice, a quaint island fishing town, something of a Put-in-Bay but a bit more authentic.
We boarded the Alice E, the oldest Friendship sloop (c. 1899) in operation, around noon. Our skipper, Carl, led us through the harbor, navigating around countless lobster traps and pointing out the different coastal mountains. It was beautiful and we were told we were “in some of the best sailing waters in the world.” The harbor waters felt much calmer than a flat day on Lake Erie. This was easily the best part of the trip. Carl fed us cheese and bread and we shot-the-shit with our fellow riders, two couples from Salem, Massachusetts and somewhere in North Carolina. The boat ride was enjoyable and a great experience. The talk of the harbor was a $50 million dollar super yacht, docked there for the weekend. The Mirabella V (wiki) is the largest sloop (single mast sailboat) in the world. At almost 300 feet high, there is not a bridge in the world that she can sail under. It was pretty impressive. She was anchored and loaded up $300,000 tender before steaming past us.
After the three hour tour, we drank in Acadia National Park at The Atlantic Brewing Company who served us some of the best BBQ I think I’ve had.
We hit the road south, destined for Gloucester, Massachusetts. Planning to not be without a decent room for the night, we began calling hotels outside of Boston early. We came acrossed The Crow’s Nest, a bar/hotel made popular by the movie The Perfect Storm. We considered staying here for the evening but quickly changed our minds after drinking with the locals. It was an interesting place. Gloucester is the oldest seaport in America, settled in 1623! We drank at the pub where the lost crew of the Andrea Gail would tie one on after fishing the Grand Banks. We called it a night and headed west to Lowell, MA.
We woke up and headed to Lowell’s neighborhoods and saw Jack Kerouac’s birthplace, home, and grave site. We then headed to Salem to see all the witch tourist-traps. We did the Witch Museum which was quite a letdown. We ripped through downtown Boston, saw the site of The Boston Massacre and then hit the road out of town.
We arrived in Newport, Rhode Island, another awesome little harbor town. The main strip here went for about 15 blocks are so and offered a lot of cool places and shop to check out. The weather was lovely, warm with a strong breeze off the ocean. We ate lunch at The Red Parrot where we had delicious clam chowder and lobster. We drove around a bit and gawked at some of the town’s popular mansions.
We headed through Connecticut and down the coast gazing into the night at the New York City skyline. We headed to Philadelphia and found a hotel outside the city. Woke up the next day and ate cheesesteaks from Pat’s King of Steaks.
We crossed into Delaware for a hot minute and filled up. It was raining pretty hard, so we decided to point the mighty Dodge west and head home.