Sunday, March 27, 2011

Reverse Migration

Most people travel south to sunny, tropical climates for Spring Break.  We are not most people.  In fact, we traveled north to New England.  Luckily we missed the mid-March snow that the area received last week and were treated to decent weather.  Always on our quest to visit all 50 states, we wanted to take advantage of the fact that a high school/college friend is spending the year in Providence, Rhode Island.  We also were able to visit friends who recently moved to Boston, and since we were in the neighborhood, drove through Connecticut just for kicks.

Even though it was Spring Break, I worked hard to get items crossed off an ever-growing to do list so that I could relax when we were on vacation.  (In fact, writing on this blog was one of the items that just didn't get done.)  Of course, some of those pressing tasks included going shopping and getting caught up on our Netflix queue, but that's beside the point.

I will say up front that the best part of the trip was spending time with dear friends...and that's not just because we don't exactly have friends here in Memphis.  Actually, that was a common theme over the long weekend; since everyone we visited is a recent transplant to where they are living, we discussed the difficulty in making new friends, particularly when we all know that we will be moving again in the near future.

But we didn't just sit around the whole time discussing our friendless woes.  We started the trip in Boston...on St. Patrick's Day.  This was not intentional; just a "lucky" schedule.  Actually, we didn't go overboard in our celebrating, although our first destination was the Sam Adams brewery tour. 

Can you tell it was St. Patrick's Day?
Jon and I included Boston on our whirlwind couch-surfing trip a couple of summers ago, so we didn't feel the need to hit up all of the historical sites on this visit.  We instead enjoyed the beautiful spring weather as we leisurely walked around town.  Sure, we found a bar or two...including Cheers, the bar where nobody knows your name because they're all tourists.

We managed to visit during Restaurant Week so we were enjoyed a delicious 3-course meal at a price regular people could afford before checking out some pretty impressive views of the city from the Prudential Center.  We closed out the night by playing card games, such wild and crazy people we are.


We took a detour on our way to Providence the following day by going in the exact opposite direction.  We spent a couple of hours wandering around supposedly witch-infested Salem, Massachusetts.  Since I taught The Crucible a few years back, I found the memorial to those hanged--and pressed--during the infamous Salem Witch Trials to be especially significant. 


We attempted to keep the literary tour going by visiting Thoreau's beloved Walden Pond, but despite our best efforts, we weren't able to find it...darn tiny map from the car rental place.

We continued driving in the opposite direction so that we could say we went to Connecticut.  In order to count a state on our list, it is imperative that we do something significant.  Our significant event in Connecticut was walking around the bay (unless you count stopping at a gas station to use the bathroom).

Hi, we're in...Connecticut
By that time, it was time to meet my friend in Providence.  She did her homework; after a brief driving tour, she took us to a local brewery.  The next morning we went for a run along the Providence Harbor before essentially touring the state.  Along the way, we learned a lot about Rhode Island and its residents...and why we rarely see Rhode Island license plates anywhere else.  It's because they never leave.  According to our guide, even a 15-minute drive is too far.

We found ourselves in Newport for lunch and were treated to some incredible ocean views and unbelievable mansions.  This coastal town definitely depends on the tourism industry with its picturesque downtown shopping district.  We were most interested in seeing the inside of The White Horse, the country's oldest tavern (circa 1673).


We checked out the Beavertail Lighthouse in Jamestown (we learned that many New England cities have the same names) and had fresh seafood with an ocean view in Narragansett.  Jon kept repeating the name, implying its difficulty to pronounce.  He seemed to have forgotten about Puyallup, Sequim, and Steilacoom in his home state of Washington.

Near the Beavertail Lighthouse (it was windy, okay)

Narrangansett Bay
Like all good trips, it ended too quickly and made us want to go on vacation again.  It should come as no surprise that we are already planning several upcoming adventures.

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