A Traveler's Dozen: Northeast Tour
Just got back from a whirlwind Northeast Circle road trip. I promised my friends and family a recap, and since the only way I seem to remember things these days is if I write them down, here's my story...summarized in a dozen "points of interest."
12 - The number of states we traveled through. Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont. The last three were new to me...so I'm now up to 43 states...only 7 left on my bucket list.
11 - Highlights (probably more, but in the interest of my theme, we'll stick to eleven). The MET, Times Square, and Les Miserables...all in New York City. The Kancamagus Highway in New Hampshire...a picturesque road along the Swift River through the White Mountains. The Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vermont. We stayed overnight, watched a movie about the "real" Maria Von Trapp, and enjoyed the outdoor hot tub overlooking the hills (which of course were alive with the sound of music). Ben & Jerry's Factory ...the tour was nice, the ice cream (Americone Dream) fantastic. Burlington, Vermont...home to the University of Vermont and Church Street, an upscale college town filled with shopping, boutiques and cafes. Driving through the Adirondack Mountains...and seeing real live Adirondack chairs.
The Corning Museum of Glass...complete with glass flower making and our own personal tour guides (friends Marv and Linda)...if you haven't been there and are looking for a unique museum experience, this one captivated us from start to finish (although we really didn't "finish;" there was too much to see!). Visiting with our dear friends, Marv and Linda... enjoying a burger with them in Corning, learning what a gaffer is, seeing their lovely property and meeting Nutmeg and Basil (their "little" puppies)...all made for a great time! And finally, Niagara Falls. On the last two days of our trip, it was like an exclamation point on the end of a sentence. Standing just feet away from something so powerful and beautiful creates a sense of awe that stays with you long after the "Wow!"
10 - thousand steps a day (average). Thank goodness for FitBits, pedometers and iPhones that let us measure our steps in something other than aching muscles and tired feet.
9 - days and nights. And nine different beds. We moved around a lot!
8 - days of freezing cold temperatures accompanied by biting winds, rain or snow. There was only one day on our "Spring" break when we were able to walk outside briefly without coats (and hats and scarves and gloves). It was difficult, but we tried not to complain too much about the weather, and actually found a little beauty in the ice and snow.
7 - different hotels. We tried a different chain or independent hotel every night (Hotels.com has become my go-to for reservations.) They were all decent, but our favorites: The Trapp Family Lodge (Stowe, VT) and Green Mountain Suites (Burlington, VT). We always look for hotels with free breakfast, but the Green Mountain Suites also had free dinner (pot roast, potatoes, veggies, salad, dessert), beer and wine! And the place was gorgeous and reasonably priced. We will definitely go back if we ever pass that way again.
6 - pounds gained from eating those daily hotel breakfasts and too many restaurant meals. Some of the best were the Greek sampler platter in New York City, Italian cuisine at Carmine's off Times Square, New York cheesecake, lobster roll in Maine, pot roast in Vermont, burgers in Corning, and mac and cheese at Hard Rock Cafe in Niagara Falls. Okay...the diet starts tomorrow.
5 - college visits or drive-by looks. We had arranged information sessions and tours at Brown University (Providence, RI), University of Rochester (NY), and Cornell (Ithaca, NY). We drove by Dartmouth (Hanover, NH) just after dusk, and paid a quick, impromptu visit to University of Vermont (Burlington). Of all of them, the one that caught Chloe's attention (and ours) and remains on the college "short list" is the University of Rochester. A private university with an emphasis on research, we were impressed with its beautiful campus, the surrounding area, and its affiliation with the Eastman School of Music.
4 - the number of songs we heard Chloe and her friends perform with the Edwardsburg High School concert band at Trump Tower in New York City. Without the band trip to start us out, this whole Northeast vacation may not have ever crossed our minds. The kids, their directors, and chaperons had a busy, fun-filled and educational three days before we "stole" Chloe from them and headed off on our first spring break trip with one child. The three of us had a really great time together. We just might have to do it again next year, although Chloe and I are dreaming of a tropical cruise instead!
3 - thousand miles on the Prius. Tom gets credit for driving 2900 of them. I don't know what I'd do without my driver. He never complains, only occasionally makes a wrong turn, and only gets drowsy after lunch (at which time I make sure I stay awake).
2 - There were lots of twos, actually. There were two handmade glass flowers we came home with. There were two big waterfalls...the American Falls and Horseshoe Falls at Niagara. Two countries visited, after we hopped over to Canada for a view of the falls from the other side. Two museums. But I've decided that the "two" we won't soon forget are the two fire alarms that went off in the middle of the night at one of our hotels. Maybe not a highlight, but something everyone should experience at least once in their lives (and we got two in one night!).
1 - amazing country we live in! (As Chloe says: #'MURICA!) If you haven't seen it all yet, we highly recommend a good old-fashioned road trip! We're already planning our return visit to the Northeast... perhaps when the weather forecast calls for sunshine and warmer temps!