Day One: London – Boston, MA – Rockport, MA

Rockport Harbor

The harbor – Rockport, MA

Miles travelled
Not including the London to Boston bit – 37 miles

Where we stayed
Rockport Inn and Suites in Rockport, MA

Where we ate
Lunch was on the plane (and wasn’t actually that bad, all things considered).  We ate a snacky-dinner at a coffee shop called Bean and Leaf Cafe as we weren’t that hungry (lemonade and a brownie for me, coffee and a lemon cake for Husband).

Day one

The first thing we discovered as we woke up bright and early – our plane had randomly been delayed for three hours.  It wasn’t the best start, but we decided to go to the airport anyway as there wasn’t much point waiting around at home.  As soon as we joined the bag drop queue, we were whisked out of it to a secret exclusive queue around the corner, and given vouchers for free food – Delta seemed very keen to apologise for the delay by treating us really well!  We used our vouchers to get some breakfast in the airport restaurant, had a wander around, sat down and read for a bit, and before we knew it, we were on our way.

The plane trip itself was perfectly pleasant.  We had upgraded ourselves to premium economy, so had a bit of extra leg room -crucial for Husband as he is tall, unlike shortie me who was swimming in space!  We had a pasta thing for lunch, which was quite nice, and I watched Now You See Me, and The Way, Way Back which made me bawl my eyes out.  For some inexplicable reason, I also decided to watch Melissa and Joey, which I have never seen before and will never see again.  And then we landed!

We got through passport control and customs really quickly, mainly because we were one of the first in the queue, grabbed our bags and then went to collect our car for the trip.  Boston Logan Airport is so easy for rental cars – all the companies are in one building and to get there, you can grab the free shuttle bus.  We had a really nice guy go through the paperwork with us at Budget (I think his name was Chris) so by about 4, we had our 2.5 litre Volkswagon Jetta who we named Walter, and then we were off up the I-90.

Neither of us have driven in America before and we were a little nervous as due to our plane delay, we would now be driving out of Boston at a really busy time.  Fortunately, the GPS kicked in really quickly as we left the airport and I think without it, we would have been lost – it was so confusing!

The drive was a  bit surreal.  We stuck to the main roads but even then, the surroundings were so pretty and so American, which is a ridiculous thing to say because of course it was American!  There was a bit of traffic in the Boston area, but once we got a bit further out, it was a breeze.  We made it to our hotel in Rockport, Massachusetts without incident, and it was such a relief to get the first nerve-wracking drive out of the way, that we got quite giddy!  We chilled out in the room for a bit, before deciding to brave the car again and drive into town.

Rockport town

I fell in love with Rockport.  We got there as the sun was setting and it was so beautiful and peaceful.  There were a couple of people out walking their dogs, some going into the local performance center (it was broadcasting Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet and looks freaking amazing) and it was a delight to walk around the town.   We went down to the harbour to take some photos and have a quick look around, and dropped in the Bean and Leaf cafe, where the guy behind the counter gave us some more info on the area.  I think Rockport was having a festival that weekend so we were sad that we’d miss it, but we vowed that we would be back to the town in the future.

We drove back to the hotel, where I had a bath and we watched Parks and Recreation, before collapsing into a very deep sleep!

It’s not a road trip. It’s a covert operation.

Trip planning

A few months ago, Husband decided we were going on a road trip this year.  Completely out of the blue – I got home from work and there were books about New England on the coffee table that he’d randomly bought on a lunchtime bookshop binge.  Excitedly, I got to work and had our entire route planned before he finished saying “I wonder if there are any Cheesecake Factories in Massachusetts”.

We got the big map out again on bank holiday Monday and started to finalise our plans (using a spreadsheet on the TV – ever the data nerds).  We’ve already paid for three nights at the Revere Boston Common as we found a good deal, so all we had to do it come up with what we’re going to do for the rest of the two weeks.  Hopefully something along the lines of the following:

Rockport, MA
We land in Boston and drive straight out to Rockport.  It’s only about an hour away, so we’re starting off slow.  We might do Salem, MA on the way (or maybe the day after depending on how tired the flight has made us).  Being a witch obsessed teen has made me somewhat fascinated by Salem.

Wolfeboro, NH
I can’t wait to see Lake Winnipesaukee.  Looks beautiful.

Boothbay Harbor, ME
If we have time, we’d love to do a boat trip out to Monhegan Island as well.

Camden, ME
We debated about whether to go to Augusta or to Camden, but decided on Camden in the end.  It looks such a great town, and we’re looking forward to taking a trip to Camden Hills Park.

Conway, NH
Admittedly, there apparently isn’t much here other than an outlet village (which is enough of a draw for me), but it’s we’re we’ve decided to stop here before going across the White Mountains and the Kancamagus Highway.

Burlington, VT
Conveniently near the Ben & Jerry’s factory and The Alchemist Brewery.  Fun for everyone!

Bennington, VT
We’re not sure on whether we’ll stay here, but we need somewhere halfway between Burlington and our next stop.  And I have to visit the Yankee Candle flagship store.  Stop laughing.

Foxwoods, CT
I’m aware that Foxwoods isn’t a town, but it is the 2nd largest casino in the USA.  Those two statements don’t really have a connection.  FOXWOODS!

Hyannis, MA
We’ve had to go a bit of a weird route because hotel rooms were too expensive for the nights we had planned to stay there.  Hyannis is the start of our mini Cape Cod adventure.

Provincetown, MA
Right at the tip of Cape Cod.  It’ll be nice to get back to being by the sea again after all that inland driving!

Providence, RI
We’re planning on doing a tour of Brown University.  I always wanted to go there when I was younger.  I hope they don’t mind random British university Administrators hopping on their tours.

Boston, MA
And this is where we end our trip, taking a detour to Plymouth, MA on the way from Providence.  So far, I have planned on visiting the Flour Bakery, going on a Harvard tour and seeing some art.  There’s an exhibition on American modernist photographers at the MFA which looks exciting.  We’ll probably be exhausted by the time we get here, but hopefully we can stay awake for the last three days.

I think we’re decided on which hotels we’re going to stay at – largely independent places, but the odd chain has sneaked in.  We’re not planning on spending a huge amount each night, but I think some places might test our budget a little.  Trip Advisor has been a saviour in the planning, as has Trivago – I’ve seen many a hotel that I thought was out of our budget, but Trivago has managed to find us a good deal.

Plotting the towns on a map, we are just driving in a big square, and might be missing out on some amazing towns in the middle so if you have any suggestions, let me know!

Now I just need to wait another 4 months (or so) for our trip to come around.  This summer is going to be hard!

(Oh, btw, it’s not really a covert operation.  That’s just me quoting Buffy).