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USA

USA

New England

After previously trying to stay away from the US we found ourselves back there on account of some incredibly cheap flights home, via Edinburgh! Our route was to start in Mt Washington National Forest, a pretty place with some great walks and stunning scenery.

Unfortunately our trip to the National Park was a fleeting visit as we stopped for just one night in a hostel, can you believe it was our first real hostel of the trip, such flash packers, it was quite nice, should have stayed in more!

We then stayed near a small town called Portland, a vibrant victorian port town, which just so happened to be a massive brewing hub, so Mitch was very pleased.

We had an amazing tasting and tour around Allagash brewery (mainly because they gave away so much free beer), even I became an IPA fan! To be honest, I probably could have done without adding another pleasing alcoholic beverage to my long list! In and around Portland was really great, its just how I imagined Maine, with its rugged, beautiful coastline, millions of lakes and stunning green countryside. Not forgetting the delicious lobster rolls, poshest picnic I’ve ever had!

Things were heating up in Maine, so we decided to have a day on the beach. We have become too accustomed to warm sea, so the North Atlantic coast was quite a shock! I had trouble just dipping my feet in, even Freda didn’t fancy a swim. But she did fall in again while trying to climb on a rock! It once again caused much amusement. She’s starting to rival my sister, who always seemed to fall in any water that crossed her path.

We back tracked slightly for our last few nights in Maine and headed up north again to stay in a rather cosy, but remote Yurt.

We were a little shocked to realise an off grid Yurt meant that there was no water, so no showers or flushing toilets! However, the location was so beautiful we made do, even if the lady that owned it was a rather unusual host! When we arrived and I asked about a shower, her response was “the lakes clean and very warm!” super….. On our first night she came down to our yurt to tell us there was a tornado warning in the area, I loved Mitch’s reply, “is the Yurt tornado proof!” well needless to the answer was no. We sat tight and it passed us by, luckily, so we didn’t have to find out! We spent the next day enjoying the tranquility of the lake, which the Americans fondly call a pond! Canoeing, swimming and kicking back in glorious nature.

We left our ‘glamping’ in need of a good wash and went to stay north of Boston with an old colleague of Mitch’s. Derek and his lovley wife Marian, hosted us for 2 nights, which was great. It was a little bit embarrassing turning up as the great unwashed, but we soon cleaned up and settled into their comfy home.  We spent the 4th of July with them, which was quite funny as we were all Brits, but Derek and Marian cooked us a lovely meal, thanks guys, it was fun celebrating the demise of the English!

We really enjoyed our time in Boston, it’s a great city, lots of history, great architecture and green spaces. Freda particularly enjoyed a famous childrens story written in the 1940s, ‘Make way for the ducklings’, about a mallard family that lived in Boston, they have since been immortalised in bronze for all children to sit on.

Oh and I shouldn’t forget the lobsters, as Freda was becoming quite taken by all the lobster paraphernalia. We even stumbled on the best carousel I’ve ever seen, she went straight for the Lobster.

After Boston we drove down to a place called Plymouth, famous for being the first place the English pilgrims set foot. The reason for staying here was that it happened to be about as close as we could stay to Cape Cod, which I was keen to see. As it happened we lucked out because we took a whale watching trip from there and saw over 10 humpback whales, feeding and breaching and tail slapping…..all sorts really and all around our boat.

It was a one of the highlights of our trip so far. Absolutely incredible! After such an amazing morning we had to follow it up with a pretty special lunch at the local Lobster and chip shop! Oh my god, that was a tasty lobster, I loved that it was served on a paper plate with chips. However, Freda was a little sad. She said to me, “mummy that looks like a real Lobster?”

I guess it was a little tough on her as she had just made friends with yet another Lobster outside the restaurant!

The next day was our only day on the Cape, and it didn’t stop raining. In fact, it rained so much there were flash flood warnings. We managed to make it to the quant town of Chatham, which boasts being the home of the great white. This is also the area in which Jaws was filmed, ironically the one film that has done this fish such a great disservice. However, Chatham is endeavouring to educate people about this amazing animal, with exhibitions and a great white shark museum.

Although there was a small part of me the was a little pleased that the rain prevented us from spending anytime on the beach.

We did find out quite quickly that there is very little to do down by the seaside when it rains, so we drove back and spent the afternoon in traffic jams from everyone escaping the floods and then went to the cinema. Freda was very pleased!

Then all of a sudden, we had just two days left, yep that’s right the eternal travellers are coming home!! We stopped by Newport, to ogle at the 19 century mansions built by some of the wealthiest Americans of the time. They were obscene, but fascinating, mainly modelling themselves on great palaces in Europe at the same time. But here it was a case of maybe a little too much money, “all the gear no idea”! This was one of the houses’ garden sheds!

We spent our last day hanging out at a rather cool old yacht club near New Haven, drank the last of our cuban run and waved goodbye to life on the road!

Then like it had never happened, it was all over!

Well it’s been some trip, we couldn’t quite believe it had come to an end and after being back 2 weeks now, I still can’t believe it. We’ve had what can only be described as the best and most enlightening time of my life. The world is a wonderful place, so diverse, fascinating, educating and inspiring. The people we have met along the way, in hardship or with wealth have been open and welcoming, interesting and challenging. Each place had its ups and downs, each place taught myself, Mitch and Freda something valuable and have given us memories to treasure. It’s a hard time for the world, ecologically, economically and politically. I have witnessed sad things, but I think it’s so important to understand we are one planet and one race, all of us are in this together. This trip has changed my outlook on so many things, it has changed the way I want to live my life and I think the experience will stay with our family forever.

So after my cheesy conclusion I want to thank all of you guys for reading this and taking an interest in our trip. And thank you for all for your comments, they meant a lot to us when we were away.

We hope to see you all soon if we have not already and watch this  space we may take to the blog again  when we begin to set up our eco retreat in the great British countryside.