Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Crisp Autumn Day

I have always had this love affair with the fantasy of Maine. I think it started when I was young and read "Sarah Plain and Tall." The images of a rocky coast, with the cool blues and grays of the ocean have always been in my dreams and this lighthouse was the perfect spot to experience them in real life. 
The night before we found some young locals in an all night diner who told us we had to go visit Portland Head Light. This was the most picturesque spot, and a wonderful way to start out the morning, listening to the waves wash up on the rocks and taking in the crisp, cool air. From now on, when I think of Maine, this is the new picture I have in my imagination. 

We left the coast of Maine pretty early, and drove northwest into New Hampshire's White Mountains, where we heard one could experience the most vibrant fall colors anywhere in the United States. Our drive took us by gorgeous lakes and through amazing scenery painted with beautiful colors. While driving through the White Mountains listening to an audio book we simply pulled over whenever we found something interesting to take pictures of, or hike through.  It was a spectacular way to spend a crisp autumn day, we even got to see some snow flurries up on the mountain tops. 

Our road trip took even us by the remains of The Old Man in the Mountain. As is the way of nature, the centuries had taken their toll on the Old Man's face, he started sagging a few years ago - and then all of a sudden he completely lost it. Now, you have to picture him in his former glory. We missed seeing his regular visage by just a couple years. 

And finally, what would a trip through New England be if it didn't involve a covered bridge or two? We found this on serendipitously while we were trying to find our way on some old country roads (trying to find our way sounds so much better than "Had to turn around because we missed our exit, due to not being able to properly read the map.")
We drove across this old covered bridge at the legitimately posted speed of "No faster than a slow walk." 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

An exercise in spontaneity

At Vinces request this vacation was a totally unplanned, unscheduled adventure -adventure for Vince, exercise in stress management for me. You see, I am my father's daughter. I don't go anywhere without doing the research first. I like to plan, map out, schedule and otherwise beat out the spontaneity of even the must relaxing of vacations. So, I was convinced to set aside the plans this once and "see what happens." No, prior research, no mapping out the best route, no hotel reservation - yes thats right - no hotel reservations.  This was going to be a whole new experience for me and I wasn't sure that I would actually survive.

Day 2 started and we woke up early for breakfast, and then headed up the Massachusetts coast, thru New Hampshire with the vague goal of making it into Maine by evening.

We found some of the cutest villages, quaintest homes, most beautiful views and even a medieval castle overlooking the ocean that we spent most of the afternoon exploring. All of this accomplished without a plan or agenda. I was thoroughly surprised!

This really was the most relaxing of days, I never knew how enjoyable and refreshing spontaneity could be.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I think I'll go to Boston...

The rain stopped. The day turned out to be an absolutely beautiful, brisk fall day. We started the morning with a cup of coffee in hand - wait - I started the morning with a cup of coffee in hand, as we followed the Freedom Trail through Boston. We got to visit some of the oldest churches in America, Paul Revere's home and grave, the sight of the Boston Massacre, Bunker Hill, Faneuil Hall and so much more. 

It was a great day wondering through a beautiful and historic city, stopping occasionally at little coffee shops, an incredible bakery with absolutely amazing canolis, and ending the evening with a cute little Italian restaurant.  We even got to experience real Bostonian drivers at rush hour - I have never seen so many people yelling and flipping each other of at intersections - and I lived in LA for several years. 

I could have spent days in Boston, it had so many great places to visit, so many historical sights - in fact there were so many historical sights and buildings that the whole city seemed to be covered in plaques.  One little brownstone home had a plaque out front reading "On this location in 1823 absolutely nothing important happened." 

But we couldn't stay long - we had lots more to see. 

And it begins

Our vacation started out on the humorous note, but isn't this what makes a trip more memorable? Our first mistake was to schedule a flight that landed in Boston at close to midnight, which didn't seem like it would be a problem since our bodies were used to the West Coast time zone. What we didn't know was that our flight from San Diego, with a layover, would NOT have a layover due to delays, which meant no food till our second flight landed at midnight. 

So, we landed in Boston at midnight, in a torrential rain storm, not having eaten since bright and early that morning. No problem. We would find someplace to eat on the way to our hotel. Wrong.  At 2am, with our stomaches audibly growling for the past 4 hours, we finally gave up and stopped at the only place open - a gas station. And let me tell you - we loaded up. Have you ever tried eating dinner at a gas station at 2am? We made it back to the hotel with chips, cheese dip, Ben and Jerry's, Cup O Noodle, and peanuts. I'm sure the clerk thought we were potheads, oh well.  

And so with arms full of junk food, soaking wet and laughing we started our New England Adventure.