New England: full of surprises

It’s been ages since I’ve written a post about out trip… we’ve done so much in the meantime! As I type away, with one finger, on my iPhone screen, I’m sitting in a hotel room in Tulare, California. If you haven’t heard of Tulare, I’m not surprised. It’s a smallish town somewhere between LA and Yosemite National Park. One thing I can tell you about Tulare, it has every single fast food chain restaurant you can imagine!

So how did we get here? Well, via New England, of course! Way back after we left Hershey, we took to the road again, heading North. It was a long and stressful drive, we put ‘Boston’ and ‘no tolls’ in the GPS… regardless we had to cross the George Washington Bridge – costing $34 – cos the GPS doesn’t have the option ‘make sure our RV can fit underneath the overpasses’, more on that later. Putting Boston in the GPS was dumb. We certainly ended up in Boston, what we didn’t factor in was the fact that Boston was built over 300 years ago, thus having insanely narrow, horse-and carriage friendly, streets. Not RV streets. We stressed a big when we realised there was so nowhere for an RV to spend the night anywhere within the vicinity of Boston. We used google to find a KOA campground an hour away but stupidly ended up stuck in peak hour traffic – in BOSTON! Please don’t ever complain about Sydney traffic if you’ve never experienced Boston traffic. Nuts.

The KOA was great. A pool, a jumping pillow and campfire ring for our RV spot. We opted for two nights, deciding to check out Cape Cod in the morning. Urgh, big mistake! Cape Cod is full of private beaches – yes, private – and narrow streets. Not RV friendly. We ended up in Hyannis which is a cute but far too touristy town. We stopped trying to find the promised fries clams and lobster, but only found ice cream and hotdogs.

That afternoon we took a taxi and train into Boston – cos you can’t take an RV into Boston – to meet John Goh for dinner and a walk around Harvard. We really like North End, which we kept calling Little Italy. We has pizza, which we didn’t enjoy much, and then dessert at Modern Pastry, which was yum. Harvard was another train way but was worth it. Such beautiful buildings! Balin, who is 9, is determined to attend Harvard. Cute.

The next day we left early to head East to Salem. Salem is an adorable town – well, I think the witch museum isn’t even in Salem now, but anyway. The town is witch themed and super cute. Lots of older buildings in a range or architectural styles. We all enjoyed the presentation about the Salem witch trials at the Witch Museum. It was so interesting and disturbing! Human beings are bizarre and often cruel creatures. I was pleased that the presentation of the events were really liberal – focusing on the frailties of human nature. Next stop was Maine, in search of the famous lobster roll. Sadly, by the time we got there Lee was pretty sick. He’s been suffering from an ear and chest infection the whole trip. We did think Maine was pretty, but a bit touristy for us. We went to Perkins Cove which is a sweet little lobster town. It has a range of shops and lobster shacks. We went to the aptly named Lobster Shack and Lee had a lobster roll and a beer which he enjoyed, but we didn’t swim because he was feeling too unwell. I think we were less stoked on Maine than we expected simply because we have grown up on the beach… we know beautiful beaches.

That afternoon we took to the road again, heading to New Hampshire in search of JD Salinger’s house in Cornish. The drive was gorgeous, through the mountains. After driving some narrow roads through the thick green countryside at dusk – dodgy – we made it to Cornish. It’s TINY! Salinger certainly made the perfect choice for his removal from the world. The only shop there is closed down. We did see the post office where he always collected his mail. Sadly, we had no chance of finding his home and the famous barn where he wrote. Still, we thought it was good to respect his privacy, so we left and drove to nearby Lebanon. Great town, great pub. Next stop was the KOA at White River Junction. Lee was so sick he went straight to bed and we accidentally left the lights on all night – waking up to a dead battery! So pleased people in Vermont are awesome – we we’re jump started and on our way!

First stop was STUNNING Montpelier. Loved this town. Little town that’s all about natural, local foods and crafts and stuff. Totally hipster according to my 12 year old. We had yummy crepes at The Skinny Pancake and bought lots of cheap books at Rivendell books.

Ben and Jerry’s ice cream is amazing. We all know this. It is also VERY expensive in Australia – $12 for a pint! In the US it’s only $5! Nuts! Well, when I heard the factory was in Vermont, I knew we were going. It was, to be completely and utterly honest, disappointing. It was super busy, super touristy and kinda expensive. The tour was cheap – $3 each – but the gift shop and ice cream shop was Australian prices. Annoying. We were all impressed with their origin story and their commitment to ethical and environmental principles, but why sell out to Unilever? Later we stopped at the Cabot cheese factory and tasted some delicious cheese and the cider factory, tastes like cold apple juice.

Last stop, Burlington. It’s like Montpelier but much bigger. Still cool though. We stayed at Burlington Beach campground – $30! So cheap, and right near the beach. Well, the lake – Lake Champlain, in fact. We walked the 20 minute waterside walk into town and had dinner at a great brewery. I had portobello roll, noms. Walking through town after dinner we couldn’t believe how bustling it was – and how many people were speaking French! Vermont is a holiday spot for many French Canadians and their influence is noticeable! We found the coolest sock store and spent too much money, then walked back along the lake, watching one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen. The sky lit up behind the Adirnodaks… wow!

The next day was boring and massive – the insanely long drive back to New Jersey. Just picture an RV doing the limbo… we seriously went under some low, low overpasses! Pleased to survive!

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