Our first week in New England was precisely as I imagined it to be: Lazy for the most part, quiet, steeped in history and stunning landscapes. My husband is a photographer so he was in heaven the entire vacation, but especially while in the rural countryside and rugged seashores. Everywhere it was green and lush. The architecture of the houses was starkly different than anything on the West Coast. The air, vegetation, sandy beaches, smells, people – all of it was incredibly unique and wonderful. We truly fell in love and I think my hubby would move there in a heart beat! Alas, I do not like cold weather so the New England winters would kill me.
Memorable Week #1 moments:
1. The horrific downpour that began while we were in Kennebunkport, Maine and never let up all the way back to our cottage in Gloucester, Mass! It was very scary. Plus we almost ran out of gas and discovered that gas stations all close very early in the eastern countryside.
2. The wealth of history in Boston. We walked the Freedom Trail, saw Paul Revere’s house, the Old North Church, toured the USS Constitution (Old Ironsides), rode the tour bus all over, ate at the oldest tavern in town (The Bell in Hand), and so much more.
3. Pleasant day trip to Salem, Mass. Rainy day in a spooky town. Pretty cool!
4. Meeting incredible people everywhere! Especially Wayne and Anne from Long Island, NY who shared dinner with us in Maine.
5. Finding my books in the small store in the Boston train station. Surreal!
6. Walking through east coast sandy beaches and placing my feet into the Atlantic Ocean for the first time. I have pictures to prove it!
7. Seeing the Kennebunkport holiday home of the President Bushes! Here it is–
New York City is an entirely different animal! It truly is an alternative universe. I knew before I left that I would enjoy visiting such a unique place but that this totally non-city girl would not love it. Well, that was how it went! I do not regret a second of our time there and would not turn down a free trip back, but I can’t say New York City would be on my list of places I must visit again. The immense buildings really do go on forever. I don’t think I saw a single building smaller than 5 stories and they were few. The architecture was wildly diverse from very old and elegant to sterile and modern – right next to each other! The press of people was never ending, but strangely the streets were relatively clean. Traffic rules do not seem to exist and yellow cabs are wall-to-wall. Times Square is just as one envisions it with lighted billboards reaching into the heavens.
Memorable NY moments–
1. Conversations with the taxi drivers. They are all from other countries and usually have fabulous stories to tell.
2. The plays! We saw Phantom of the Opera, Mamma Mia!, and Wicked. Each was fabulous in its own way.
3. The food! OMG! We ate a ton. Italian in Little Italy was to die for, and I do mean we almost died from the sheer volume of food! The Carnegie Deli served the biggest corned beef sandwich I have ever seen. Not a bad meal the whole time, not a one. Not a single chain restaurant meal. Only the Jamba Juice we both craved one night and the ice cream at Applebees since it was closest.
4. Visiting the site of the World Trade Center attack. No words.
5. Waiting for 3 hours all together to complete our trip to the 102nd floor of the Empire State Building and back down again. Was it worth it? Yes! But it sure was a loonnnggg afternoon! Up side is that we then saw the sunset from the top, so that was cool.
6. The Harry Potter Exhibit! It was unbelievable! You name it from the movies, it was there.
7. Ferry ride to the Statue of Liberty. Great in every way!
8. Watching my photographer husband light up like a kid in a candy store when we went to the two-story block-long B&H Photo, the Mecca of photo stores! He went back twice while I was at the conference. I do believe it was his favorite part of the trip!
9. Taking the tour bus around. The view from on top is wonderful and the guides know lots of fun information about the city.
So it was a grand holiday. Truly grand! The souvenirs accumulated grew to the point where they had to be shipped separately. I am sure when the two boxes finally arrive I will remember even more that I have forgotten. Yes, it was a blast but we are happy to be back where it is flat, green, and devoid of crowds though. As Dorothy said, there is no place like home….