Day 1 - We flew into Boston and navigated our way to the hotel. Slept.
Day 2 - We walked the Freedom Trail in 90+ heat. It was crazy. My husband climbed the monument at Bunker Hill. I waited in the room downstairs and listened to the history of the site.
Then when the heat got too much for us, we took refuge in the Museum of Science. There was a really cool dude who had this lightning machine. It was so loud we had to cover our ears. I can't tell you much more about that day because I was exhausted from the heat and jet lag but I do remember watching PM's Qs in the hotel lobby waiting for the bus to take us to the tube. It was really interesting to hear another nation explaining our political system on the news.
Day 3 - We toured Harvard. Horray. I had been really looking forward to this and I wasn't disappointed. The guide was a Harvard Sophomore and she gave us an insider's view. I was riveted. The statue below is John Harvard who is actually not the founder of Harvard but he donated lots of money. Oh, and it's not really him. No one knew what he looked like so they just got a random student to model as him. Cool, huh?!
Then we had booked tickets for the Duck Tour which uses an amphibious vehicle to drive and sail? you around the city. The guy leading the tour was Colonel Duck Tape. He was part actor, part tour guide, 100% crazy. I loved it.
I also got to spend a while in Barnes and Noble and Borders that day so I was very very happy.
Day 4 - We drove out of Boston and up the Maine coast. This was the day it hit 106. I thought my skin was going to melt off. Thank goodness for the aircon in the car. We stopped at lots of little picturesque places but not for long. I loved Maine. Out of the three states we visited, it was my favourite. In the evening it was a bit difficult to find a place for dinner and we got a bit lost but in doing so we found the coolest diner for breakfast the next day. Amy and Roger are so right. It is all about the detour.
Day 5 - We spent the morning on Crescent Beach and did some reading. It was cloudy so it was cool enough to just sit there and do nothing. But then by lunch time that heat wave was back and we had to disappear into the shade again.
In the evening I suggested we drive into Portland. It's one of Maine's biggest cities so the hubby was a hit afraid what with not knowing the US Highway Code but it was surprisingly easy. We had a huge dinner. I had shrimp and our waitress studied at the University of London so she was delighted to meet some Brits in her home town. Portland is fairly lively at night so we mooched about and bought postcards, walked along the wharf, it was charming.
Day 6 - We ate breakfast at the diner again. And then we went into the State Park of Sebago Lake and went for a swim. It was just the right temperature and it was really beautiful.
Then in the afternoon we drove further up the coast and went to Long Lake where we went on the coolest boat ever and had a guided tour of the lake. We also played mini golf. My husband won. He always does. Then we headed for the New Hampshire White Mountains and checked in at the Comfort Inn at North Conway. We stayed in a suite. It was so luxurious compared to the cringe worthy placed we'd stayed before so I was very very happy.
Day 7 - In the morning my husband took the car up the Mount Washington Auto Route. I completely chickened out when I read: "People who are afraid of heights may not appreciate this driving experience. There are no guiderails on the auto-route". So I stayed in the visitor centre with the lovely staff and read my book. It was heaven. In the afternoon we took a trip on the North Conway Scenic Railway. I love train rides. I can't explain why. I just do and this was a train from 1896 so I was pretty excited.
Day 8 - It was our wedding anniversary. We drove up into the mountains and then did a short trail walk to some Thompson Falls. It was early so we were the only people there. At the bottom of the waterfall there are some stepping stones and I said to my hubby "Are you sure I'm safe to walk on these?" (I'm a neurotic holidayer). He says "Of course it's safe". What does he do five minutes later? Slip and somehow crush his toe between two rocks. He was in agony. He could hardly walk for the rest of the holiday. I seriously thought he'd broken it. But today most of the purple and blackness has gone. It was like a mouldy chipolata.
In the evening we had Chinese, managed to fit in some more mini-golf (hubby won again) and went to the cutest playhouse to see Hairspray. It was brilliant. The cast were really good considering that this was a local theatre and they have not much more than a weekend to rehearse each play they put on.
Day 9 - I signed up for a horse ride through the woods. My husband went off for a drive through the mountains. The ride was great. I have very little experience but the guides took really good care of me and my horse for the morning - Jed - was so well behaved. It was a really peaceful way to see off the beaten track. I recommend it. No pics of that I'm afraid as hubby took the camera.
In the afternoon we drove from the White Mountains back to Massachusetts and stayed at the Comfort Inn in Portsmouth. (Note: I am a big fan of The Comfort Inn). We walked around a bit and had dinner in a waterfront restaurant.
Day 10 - We drove south to visit Salem. My husband's poor toe (how I wish I took a picture) meant he wasn't up to much walking and seeming as I hate it, I happily suggested we take the tour trolley around. Another guided tour which I really enjoyed. There is nothing like good stories to make the things we see have meaning. Lunch at the harbour and then the drive back to the airport to fly home.
An English Girl's Top Five Tips for a Holiday in New England:
- Take your own teabags and while you're at it a travel kettle and some long life milk. Trust me; this will stand between you and insanity. If you ask for hot water for tea while you’re out and about, the restaurants are more than happy to give it to you.
- Take insect repellent for the mountains and lakes. Otherwise you will be a feast for the mini-beasts.
- Always opt for the guided tour where possible - how else will you know that Matt Damon used to sleep in a certain dormitory?
- Ask the hotel receptionist where it is good to eat. The locals always know the best establishments.
- Don't take many books with you. Save the space to buy lots of new ones to take home.
I guess I'll finish this post off by answering the question about whether I needed an extra suitcase for all my new books. No I did not. I put some in my case, some in hubby's, some in my hand luggage and then bought two more for the airport shop once we'd checked in. So there you go. I didn't even need to leave my flip-flops behind. But I would have though, if push came to shove.