Kevin and I are a bit behind on our blog posts. We have decided to sum up everything that has happened between the time we left New Jersey and arrived in Appleton… in ONE blog post!?!?! Here we go!
After leaving Princeton, we drove along the treacherous, congested, smelly North Jersey highways to visit our friend Natalie in Nyack, NY. Natalie (barista extraordinaire) works at a fantastic coffee/donut shop called Gypsy Donut.
We camped in Nihman Mountain State Forest, a little ways outside of Nyack. We climbed a fire watchtower on top of the mountain, and had a close encounter with a potentially rabid deer.
There was a bit (understatement) of a mixup about our next destination… I meant to lead us to New Canaan, CT (where my mom lived when she was a teenager), which was right on the way from Nyack to our next destination. Unfortunately, I looked at the map wrong, and switched a few letters around, and brought us to New Haven, CT instead. Woops! We did end up making it back to New Canaan, where we slept in our car outside of some very, very nice homes.
On the way to Providence, we stopped through Mystic Seaport in Connecticut, camped in Burlingame State Park, and stopped in some town with funny crosswalking methods. In Providence, we saw my friend Alana who lived 8 houses down from me in New Jersey. We used to make potions, put on plays, do detective work, make treasure maps, and be the only members of the coolest club on the block. It was really cool hanging out as like… adults… or something!
After stopping through Providence, we stayed with my dad’s cousin Peter, his wife Margaret, and their kids Ian and Louisa in Cambridge, MA. They are such welcoming, lovely people. We had a wonderful time with them! We went swimming in Walden Pond… well, Margaret and Louisa swam… I mostly just flailed around and realized that I am not a very good swimmer anymore. Margaret took us to the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, where we saw this amazing exhibition of graffiti artists Barry McGee’s work. We walked around Boston… er… Kevin walked, I melted. We had delicious dinners and excellent conversations. Margaret and I bonded over the fact that baseball makes us tear up. We ate gallons of gelato. We never wanted to leave! You guys are the best!
Also in Cambridge, we got to see my friend David who I haven’t seen in far too long! I met him when I was living in Dublin for a bit after graduating from college. We were the only two people waiting outside of Whelans before it opened to get tickets to see the Frames. It was awesome catching up with him and seeing what he is up to on this side of the pond. Look out for his new band Courage and the Bear!
After Cambridge, we headed up to the White Mountains in New Hampshire. Kevin repeated a hike up Mt. Jefferson that he had done with his family when he was a kid.
From the White Mountains, we headed to Portland, ME, a lovely seaside city. We met up with some friends from Appleton, Rick and Faith, who have recently relocated to Portland. You know those conversations you have with people that leave you feeling refreshed, relaxed, excited about life, content, and encouraged? That is exactly how we felt after having drinks with Rick and Faith. They are so darn hip!
We stayed in our first KOA (Kampgrounds of America… they can’t spell) in Augusta, very close to Portland. It was weird. There was minigolf… and a pool… and screaming children. Not our favorite campsite…
Next stop… Acadia National Park! Holy cow, was it beautiful… and touristy! We hiked, and watched the sunrise at one of the most eastern parts of the country.
On our way from Acadia to Quebec, we did these things:
Quebec City was a mix of wonderful and terrible. I know that Kevin and I are technically tourists when we are visiting a new place, but we would like to think that we are different from the stereotypical tourist. And boy, were there a LOT of tourists in Quebec city. That was the “terrible” part. We don’t wear vests with a billion pockets (for your passport, maps, guidebooks, a kitchen sink?), we don’t back up into the middle of the road to take photographs of god knows what, we don’t go into the kitschy shops that sell items “unique” to the area we are in (all of them sell the same stuff with a different city name plastered all over it).
The wonderful bits of Quebec City include the lovely hostel friends we made, the beautiful architecture, and the country’s support for the arts. One of our hostel friends informed us that Cirque du Soleil was having free performances down by the river, and I am so glad that we went! It was freaking AMAZING.
We were pretty exhausted by the time we made it to Montreal, so mostly we just walked around checking out sweet graffiti, and went to the same restaurant twice, where we ate some delicious food.
At this point, Kevin and I were pretty tired from traveling and aching to get to Oak Park. And so, we made the questionable decision to drive straight from Montreal to Oak Park. It was a very long 18 hours in the car. I think we might be too old to do that again.