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Monday Challenge

Monday Challenge: If you could go anywhere…

Winter in Maine - photo by Karina Chapman

Winter in Maine - photo by Karina Chapman

This morning, I got up and looked out my window at the snow, and said to myself, “Yeesh. Is it spring yet?”

Oh don’t get me wrong. I love Maine. I even like snow. However, we have had a very light winter, snow-wise, and the ground is covered with dead grass and patchy drifts of dirty ice. You can’t really even call it snow, it’s hardened up so many times due to the many thaws and freezes we’ve had.

While I was glaring at the ice and dead grass in my yard, I got to wondering:

If I could go anywhere, where would I go?

Obviously, Hawaii is my instant choice. It’s one of my favorite places on the planet. Unfortunately, that’s not an option. There are, however, many other places I love, some of which are within a day’s driving distance of Southern Maine.

Just down the road, so to speak, is Boston, Massachusetts, a world-class city with museums, theatres, restaurants, shops, and the Boston Common, a central park area which I love. If you visit in summer, don’t miss the Swan Boats, the best-kept inexpensive memorable experience in town. Boston is roughly an hour and a half by car from Southern Maine; it’s easily doable as a day trip.

A bit further afield from here is Newport, Rhode Island, home of the elegant Newport Mansions, which were the summer homes of the wealthiest Americans during America’s “Gilded Age”. Newport is possible as a day trip, but from Southern Maine, it takes around 3 hours by car, so your round trip had better start early, and you should plan to be home very late. The Mansions are open all year, but I feel that Newport is best visited in summer, when the windows and doors will be open and Newport is at its best. However, if you do happen to be there from February 17-26 this year, the Newport Winter Festival will be in full swing.

Times Square: See the spelling error? - Photo by Karina Chapman

Times Square: See the spelling error? - Photo by Karina Chapman

Just over five hours away is New York City, home to Broadway shows, one-of-a-kind shops, incredible food (from fine restaurants to sidewalk food carts), and many fabulous museums, including my favorites, the Met and the MoMA. And who could forget Tiffany & Co.?

The Cake Boss: Carlo's Bakery, Hoboken - Photo by Karina Chapman

The Cake Boss: Carlo's Bakery, Hoboken - Photo by Karina Chapman

A quick drive under the Hudson through the Lincoln or Holland Tunnels brings you to Hoboken, New Jersey. One mile square, Hoboken was voted the #1 walking city in the country. It’s one of our favorite places to visit. Hoboken is home to the “Cake Boss”, Buddy Valastro of Carlo’s Bakery, and many excellent restaurants. Hobokenites say that the restaurants have to be good, otherwise they would go out of business immediately, there are so many to choose from.

If we drive northward, there are Montréal and Québec City, both amazing french-speaking cities in the Québec province of Canada. Québec City is beautiful, but I actually prefer Montréal; it is very friendly, and I’ve explored it far more than Québec City. In the pre-9/11 world, anyone could visit with nothing more than a driver’s license for identification. Nowadays, however, you must bring your passport if you expect to enter Canada.

Next week, we will take a day trip to Boston with the girls, to visit the New England Aquarium, and to soak up a little culture. Next week is February break for Maine, which means school is not in session all week. Thankfully, it also means we can spend as long as we like in Boston without worrying about anyone being tired for class the next day. We might even stay overnight. We’re still debating.

Whether it’s a day trip or a long vacation overseas, I’m happiest when I’m traveling. In the coming days, I’ll share some other places I love to visit, and I invite you to do the same.

In fact, your Monday Challenge is to ask yourself this: “If I could go anywhere, where would I go?” Whether it’s going to the movie theater down the street or heading off on a ’round-the-world cruise, I would love to read about your dream vacation. Please consider sharing your thoughts in the comments section at the bottom of this page.

Happy Aloha Monday!

My daughter "kissing" Daniel Radcliffe on Broadway - Photo by Karina Chapman

My daughter "kissing" Daniel Radcliffe on Broadway - Photo by Karina Chapman

About AlohaKarina

AlohaKarina (aka Karina Chapman) is a Writer, Photographer, and Educator who teaches middle school Science and Social Studies in Southern Maine. A cohort of the Maine Governor's Academy for Science and Mathematics Education Leadership, and a National Endowment of the Humanities Scholar (Abolitionism studies), she is credentialed to teach K-8 (all subjects) in both Maine and California. Karina has worked as a photographer, weekly columnist, and reporter for the Eureka Times-Standard daily newspaper in Northern California. She has also written for both and (as K.M. Chapman). Karina's superpower is speed-pouring killer margaritas. If she had to choose where to live for the rest of her life, she would choose Kennebunkport, Hawaii Kai, and San Francisco.


15 thoughts on “Monday Challenge: If you could go anywhere…

  1. You know Hawaii would be my first choice, too. After that – I would love to go to Alaska; more precisely, on a Polar Bear watch. And then, of course, I’d have to go back in the spring to see the grizzlies at the rivers. Yup – Alaska is a good choice for me.

    If I am sticking closer to home, then up to Bangor to visit my daughter and stalk the Master (by that, I mean drive by Stephen King’s house a dozen times) ;)

    Posted by Terese Hodgdon | February 13, 2012, 6:32 pm
    • Absolutely, I’ve stalked…er, driven past…Stephen King’s house a few times. I love those gates!

      If you go to Alaska, take a helicopter up to where they do the dog sledding. My brother and sis-in-law did that, they loved the helicopter ride and Lori absolutely loved the sled dogs. And she’s a CAT person! :)

      ALOHA Terese!

      Posted by AlohaKarina | February 13, 2012, 6:42 pm
  2. I would definitely go to a place where I would finally be able to touch and feel snow… even if I end up freezed to death as I’m used to tropical climate. :P I would so love to witness an aurora borealis too!

    Posted by evilnymphstuff | February 14, 2012, 12:36 pm
  3. Uhmmm… well, I’m pretty happy here in Atlantic Canada, but I haven an obsession with NYC even though I’ve never been there. I have to go there once in my life …it’s like the city itself is calling me … and now, when I live here, it’s not a too big an obstacle to overcome.

    We did go down to Calais, ME a couple of days ago, to do some cross-border shopping.

    I’ve lived in Quebec City for five years [and I don’t speak French]. It was an odd experience …

    Posted by coolfeline | February 16, 2012, 5:46 pm
    • I did see your post about the Calais trip. I liked your photo of the moon–this one: It was a great shot, especially considering your elbows were your tripod!

      I have never been to Calais. I imagine if we ever (eventually!) make it to Prince Edward Island, which I would dearly love to see, we’ll go through there.

      Posted by AlohaKarina | February 16, 2012, 6:20 pm
      • Calais is just a sleepy little border town….but NOT as sleepy as Jackman, ME. That was our border crossing when we lived in QC..from there we drove down through Skowhegan and those places. Love Maine … but I have to add that’s the only state I’ve been to LOL [except Fla. but that was 1979]

        Posted by coolfeline | February 16, 2012, 6:40 pm
    • You might like Southern Maine…very pretty beaches, and Boston is wonderful!

      Posted by AlohaKarina | February 16, 2012, 6:45 pm
      • I love it there .. been to Ogonquit, York Beach [Nubble Light :) ], and other places. The Maine coastline is so varied …from those smooth beaches to the rugged coast farther up. Now that I think of it, I’ve been to quite a few places there .. Rockland, Rockport, Camden.. and inland Caribou and New Sweden of course :)

        Posted by coolfeline | February 16, 2012, 6:53 pm
      • lol! Definitely need to go to New Sweden! We love York Beach–it was the first place we landed when we came to Maine for the first time. We love taking the girls there, even though we have a beach up by us as well.

        Nubble Light is wonderful, too. We went there once in winter to try to get a picture with the snow, and the wind coming off the ocean just about froze us the second we got out of the car. I quickly gave up on that idea and haven’t tried it since!

        You should go up to Moosehead Lake and Mount Katahdin, both are gorgeous, especially in the fall. Talk about unbelievable colors!

        Posted by AlohaKarina | February 16, 2012, 9:46 pm
      • I’ve seen photos from there, in Flickr … We’ll definitely think about that this coming Fall. Love those leaves changing colours :)

        Posted by coolfeline | February 16, 2012, 10:18 pm
  4. PEAK?! LOL

    Posted by coolfeline | February 16, 2012, 5:47 pm

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