Thursday, September 07, 2006

Trip Report

I guess I need to hurry up and post about the New England trip because it was almost two weeks ago now. I've been sick and off work for a couple of days so although I did have time to write, my brain is too muddled to handle a coherent narrative. So, point form it is! If you prefer to look at pictures, they are all uploaded here.

- Waiting at the gate at the airport in Toronto, someone came to fetch the passengers for our flight to take us down to the tarmac. "All seven of you are here! We're good to go!"
- Turboprop planes are really noisy. And cold. And there are no air stewards to pass out blankets or hot tea. Also, a little turbulence means a very bumpy ride.
- Once we got to Manchester and tried to pick up our rental car, we found that the company did not have the compact we had reserved. Instead, they gave us a little SUV for the same cost. Sweet deal! The vehicle was a Kia Sorento, which was surprisingly good on the mountain roads plus it was comfortable and easy on the petrol, too. Who would have guessed it?
- Vince patiently allowed me to break our journey with 20 minutes at Target in Concord. If you know me in real life, you know that I am obsessed with Target and am bitterly jealous of any American who lives close enough to visit frequently. In my 20 minute shopping spree, I bought 3 funky shirts, a big pile of exotic American candy and some cute cards. Score.
- I got my chance at a hairpin turn on the Kancamagus Highway in White Mountains National Park. We also stopped at all the scenic outlooks along the road.
- We soon discovered that in Maine and New Hampshire, the expression "it's just down the road" actually means "drive for more than half an hour down a dark, forested trail past nothing but ramshackle cabins, then maybe you'll see a tiny landmark".
- Our B&B was most charming, as B&Bs tend to be. Peace With-Inn was totally colonial in decor and they make a very fine blueberry pancake breakfast.
- We both got new shoes at the Clarks oulet in North Conway! We looove Clarks.
- The Moat Mountain Smokehouse and Brewing Company on Route 16 in North Conway was selected at random by me and turned out to be the scene of a fantastic dinner. I won't soon forget the to-die-for curried crab and corn bisque, nor the delicious Carolina hushpuppies with New Hampshire maple syrup. Smoked meat connoisseur Vince gives the BBQ ribs and brisket his approval, too.
-On Saturday morning, we took on the trecherous Hurricane Mountain Road. We were advised that it was not to be attempted after dusk. The road is very steep and curvy but it is nicely paved. It was an exciting ride.
- Saturday was also the wedding and I learned that even the most disorganized and chaotic event can turn out to be fun. But what's with the New Englanders not dancing and going home early? Even bridesmaids had bailed by 9pm! Nevertheless, DJ Vince got the Canadians moving.
- On Sunday morning, we said farewell to the wedding party and headed out on our journey to the airport in Boston. We went back along the Kancamagus Highway then turned south. It rained the whole way. In Plymouth, New Hampshire, we stopped at George's Seafood and BBQ for... more tasty seafood and BBQ. From the moment we paid the bill, the road trip ceased to be fun. The traffic jam into Boston started just south of Plymouth. That meant more than 100 miles of bumper-to-bumper. I guess it was the weekender traffic from the White Mountains heading back to the city - I had not expected it. Six hours later, after much "we're not gonna make it!" anxiety, we returned our rental car within 15 minutes of the deadline.
-After all my stressing about missing our flight, we checked through security only to find we had a two hour delay. And let me just say that the departure gates at Logan Airport suck. At 8pm, they closed up everything: the snack bar, the Starbucks, even the little counter for buying candy, newspapers and bottled water! So, having been relieved of any beverages at the security check, we were left waiting at the gate until 11pm without access to anything to drink, not even a water fountain! And there were still hundreds of people waiting at these gates, not just our flight. The facilities were very poor indeed. Anyway, in the end, we made it home. It's a shame that the journey to and from Boston Airport put such an unpleasant ending on an otherwise great trip.

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Allcarphotos said...
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