A Road Trip
through New England

Post by : Joan Marie Shock (Follow on Spotted Places @thetalesofawanderer)

 

I don’t know about you guys, but road trips are my absolute favorite way to travel. The open road in front of you, the ability to stop and see whatever you want, the total and absolute freedom. On a road trip, you are in control. With these feelings in mind, I left my city of Murfreesboro, Tennessee and headed north to New England!

Harpoon Brewery

Now, I know the iconic road trip is west, to those vast open plains and endless deserts. However, I feel like New England gets skipped over quite a bit. I wanted to experience the history of my country and see the beautiful Maine Seascapes! I also had another reason for heading north: my great grandma is from a little town in Maine and I wanted to go see this beautiful area that she has talked about my whole life. It has to be a special little place if my great grandma is still so infatuated with it!

Oh, and here is the catch: I did this all solo & I didn’t pay a dime for where I slept!

In every city, I couchsurfed. Now, you could say that this is dangerous, and it can be, but you have to be smart! I only stayed with women on this trip, I looked at all their reviews and if I didn’t have a good gut feeling about it, I skipped them and found someone else. Yes, I trust my gut, it’s really a great thing to listen to when you are on the road by yourself!

Here are my favorite things from each of my cities I stopped in.

PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND

I didn’t spend much time here, but I did want to go see the one of the first U.S. Libraries, the Providence Athenaeum. Built in 1838, it has some amazing Greek Revival architecture and an impressive collection of books! I would not have minded staying in there all day!

 

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS

Now, not gonna lie, I did the touristy things, but sometimes, those can be fun! Also, take the bus & learn the system before you go. Boston is actually quite big!

For food, stop at Cheers Boston! Not the re-creation, the original one! The food is classic bar fare and nothing super special, but it is quite wonderful sitting in the place that influenced one of my favorite childhood shows.

For great beer, swing into Harpoon Brewery and do a brew tour! I love learning new things and since I love beer, I love knowing how it is made! Plus, this brewery was the first Boston Brewery up and running after Prohibition! It costs $5 bucks, but there is a 15-minute tasting session where you can taste as many as you want from the tap! I highly recommend it!

For a bit of history, do a Freedom Trail Tour. These are guided walking tours that do a 2.5 mile loop around the city. I got lost and ended up missing the last tour of the day (they end at 3 pm). So, I went to their website, looked up the map and did it myself! Lots of the buildings and graveyards have informational plaques that give you the details about the place & Google can fill in the rest! I would have loved to have the information straight from someone’s mouth, but as a person who is short, it was nice to not have to worry about all the tall folks that always end up surrounding me.

Feedom Trail Boston

I also highly suggest just walking around!! This city if full of beautiful parks, history and amazing architecture! I spent most of my time just walking around getting the feel of the city! It really was quite amazing, I recommend you do it!

That night I went with my couchsurfing host to a local hockey game! It was the minor leagues but held in the practice arena for the Bruins, so that was cool! I ended up filming the game for them because the person who was supposed to never showed up! It was so much fun and I learned just how hard it was to follow a puck with a camera!

 

SALEM, MASSACHUSETTS

This stop was, unfortunately, a little disappointing. I was traveling in the off-season and stopped in on a weekday, so a lot of things were closed! However, it was nice to just walk around the city without a ton of tourists!

The one place I stopped in that I would recommend for you history buffs out there is The Witch House. Now, a witch didn’t actually live there, but the guy who got the Salem Witch Trials rolling did! It has an $8.50 admission fee, but then you are free to wander around as you wish. The staff there is very helpful in answering your questions as fully as they can!

Salem Massachusetts

ROCKFORD, MASSACHUSETTS

Now, since a lot was closed in Salem, I didn’t stay as long as I intended and instead set my GPS to Rockford. Why? Because my couchsurfing host told me it’s a cute town that I have to see if I am headed that way! She was right! It’s an adorable little town with amazing views of the sea, cute little shops and adorable buildings! It was like a fairy tale! I highly recommend going to Brother Brew to get that midday caffeine fix! On the way out of town, I also went through a town full of antique shops: Essex, MA. I didn’t stop because if I had, I would have blown all my money. I’m a sucker for antiques!

southeast Asia beach

CAPE ELIZABETH, MAINE

This stop was the whole purpose of my trip! I now totally understand why my great grandma was obsessed with this amazing little town! It’s nestled right up to the coast and has beautiful views! While there, check out Two Lights State Park for some amazing hikes (recommended by 4 generations of my family,) the Portland Headlight (built Mr. George Washington himself) and eat some amazing seafood at the Lobster Shack near the state park!

food in New England

PORTLAND, MAINE

 

I couchsurfed here due to it being the biggest city in the area, so I took advantage of that and saw a few thing things!

For food, check out Otto’s Pizza. It’s delicious and has some of the most unique pizza combinations. The one I had was topped with mangoes & pulled pork and my hosts got bacon, mashed potatoes and scallops. Talk about yummy! For those who are wondering, yes, I love weird food.

While here, I had to stop at a brewery. Maine has this insane beer culture and even has a whole route mapped out to visit every brewery and get a free shirt! I didn’t realize it was this in-depth when I went. I stopped into Allagash Brewing and had a fantastic time; The tour is free and you get a tasting of 4 of their beers, with details on the tasting notes. I really loved it because they were so in-depth in their tour and really love the experimental side of brewing. I was able to taste beers I have never been able to find in stores. After I stopped at New England Distillery, which was recommended to me by staff at Allagash. Apparently, the owner used to work for them and left to start his own distillery. They had great gin & were really informative, but it was super awkward. They were not set up for tours at all and I was the only one there!

beer in New England road trip

PLATTSBURGH, NEW YORK

I ended my trip by leaving Maine early and heading over to New York. I had friends from college pestering me to come see them and since I was already up north, I figured, why not? I stopped in Albany for a night to say hi to a friend there and then swung up to my college town of Plattsburgh. There honestly isn’t much there, it’s a little town between the border and the Adirondack Mountains, but they have some great food and fun bars! I highly recommend getting poutine pizza from Pizza Bono’s. I swear you won’t regret it!

 

This trip ended with an insane 18-hour drive back home on just a few hours of sleep. It was killer and I definitely stopped in the rest area to take a nap! But it was so worth it because I got to see so many amazing things and meet new and old friends!

You can find Joan Shock here:

Spotted Places :  @thetalesofawanderer

Blog Site : Talesofawanderer.com

Instagram  : @talesofawanderer

Joan Shock

Joan Shock

Guest Blogger

My favorite things are travel, coffee, and books. I have a BS in anthropology and love to learn new things! Currently, I’m serving in Kosovo with the Peace Corps. For more insights into Joan’s travels and adventures with the Peace Corps, check out her blog Just Wandering Joan.

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