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.
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.?
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!