To continue on with the road trip theme from my previous post, today I will take you on a journey to New England. I am 50-years-old and this is a trip that has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember – even before I could drive. Fall is my favorite time of year: I love the crisp fresh air and the vibrant hues that fill that air. I love wearing worn out jeans, cozy baggy sweaters, and boots made for hiking – my favorite fall activity, besides sitting by a roaring fire reading a good book and sipping a glass of wine.
My first annual road trip with my daughter took place two years ago. My daughter is a lover of fall and all the activities mentioned above as well, so this is a trip we sank into with ease and intent. It was an easy first trek, with my daughter living in NYC. I flew into JFK on a Friday and she met me at the airport where we rented a snazzy black Camaro to help us navigate the back roads of Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts and back to New York.
We set out at Friday afternoon rush hour, which meant in our first 3 hours we made it all of 10 miles. But we persevered with good music, a hot cup of Starbuck’s Chai Tea and great classical music – rock and pop. We were in no hurry this weekend, and in the dark of night we finally made our way to the Windham Hill Inn, in Townshend, Vermont. A quaint Inn tucked into the hilltops of Vermont off a windy two lane road. After checking in, we climbed two flights of stairs up to our one-of-a-kind room and fell into our comfy king bed, with a fire roaring creating a low glow paired with a soothing warmth.
We awoke to a beautiful sight. A light rain was falling, but it didn’t dull the vibrant colors that filled the hillsides spreading out in every direction from the Inn. We raced downstairs, oh that’s right we weren’t in a hurry – we ambled downstairs to find a hearty breakfast menu fill with amazing food choices to fill our bellies and energize us for an adventurous hike around the grounds of the Inn. Apparently most of the other Inn’s guests were adverse to a little rain as we had the hiking trails to ourselves. We slipped and slided our way along the wet and leaf ridden paths, giggling as we looked for the colored arrows guiding our way as if we were on a treasure hunt.
Upon our return to the Inn we took up residence in front of the main house fireplace and read while warming our hands around a mug of cider. This left us sufficiently relaxed and ready for our next excursion – a massage in the refurbished barn on the grounds of this old estate, that also housed more rooms and a rustic one room spa. There was only one thing left to do after a day like that – take a nap!
Waking refreshed after an hour of deep, unfettered sleep, we changed and made our way down to the dining room. But first we made a stop at the two-seater bar and ordered up a couple of Manhattan’s – I’m a bad influence on my daughter, but it’s fun to share passions. Another hearty meal of New England fare, and we were down for the count after all that fresh air and exercise, a relaxing massage and the warmth from the fireplace food and drinks. We awoke to a sunny day, and after a lighter breakfast we headed out to explore other paths around this Vermont countryside Inn.
By mid-morning we hit the road to our next destination – the White Barn Inn, Kennebunk, Maine. We wound our way through the New Hampshire countryside, popped into the lower quadrant of Maine and took in the sights and sounds of Portland, shrouded in fog. We indulged in a lobster roll – not quite what I thought it would be. It’s like a lobster salad on a soft white bun – a little less mayo and a lot more lobster would’ve better suited my tastes. We walked through the streets of this quaint historical town, watching a big cruise ship takeover the harbor.
After our bite to eat it was time to head on into Kennebunk – which sits across the Kennebunk River from Kennebunkport – home to the Presidential Bush families. The White Barn Inn is a sister Inn to the Windham Hill Inn in Vermont, but they were very different experiences. The White Barn Inn is right on a main roadway through Kennebunk, within walking distance to the ocean. We stayed in a single level cottage, but had our meals in the main dining room at the Inn.
After checking in at the Inn, we headed across the street to walk the grounds of a working Franciscan Monastery – lush and quiet with lots of little private praying areas. Then we made our way down Beach Avenue, which appropriately took us to the beach. We walked along the seaboard, feeling very out-of-place because we had to be the only people there without a dog. We decided that somebody should offer a ‘rent-a-dog’ service for those of us just popping in for a quick visit. It was so fun to watch the dogs frolicking around in the waves, chasing after balls and sticks and their masters.
Back at our room we changed and headed over to the main house where we tracked down the sitting room. It had a roaring fire (seems to be a New England theme) where we sat and read for a bit, but then our eyes settled on a glass chessboard. We grabbed a glass of complimentary wine and settled into a heated competition of chess moves while we waited to be called to our table for dinner. Of course we had to dine on live Maine lobster! It was sweet and oh so delicious.
After dinner we returned to our room where a bottle of champagne was sitting on ice in our sitting room, the fireplace at the foot of our bed was stoked and lovely music playing softly in the background. We settled into bed with our glasses of champagne, our books and chatted about the highlights of our trip so far. It wasn’t long before the long day of driving and fresh ocean air found us fast asleep.
In the morning we enjoyed a wonderful complimentary full meal breakfast in the main dining room. Our time was ticking away and we had to have the car back to New York by evening, but first a stop in Boston to see my niece/my daughter’s cousin on her dad’s side. We took Highway 1 as far south as we could trying to stay as close to the ocean as we could, but eventually we had to pop over to the main highway to get to Boston in time for lunch.
This was my first time to Boston and my daughter’s second. What a an amazing engineering wonder Boston is – the way it winds around the waterways connecting different parts of the city. We wish we would’ve had more time to stay, but we figured Boston is a destination spot that someday we will take a road trip to and spend a long weekend in and around the city and down to the Cape maybe even Martha’s Vineyard. It was a beautifully sunny crisp fall day and I can see why so many people fall in love with this city. The food was great and the streets full of life, but in a very different, more laid back way than the busy streets of NYC.
It was a weekend chockfull of miles, great eats, vibrant fall colors and a multitude of new memories. As we wheeled the road weary black Camaro back to its stall at JFK, we proclaimed a new-found desire to repeat this kind of weekend to a new destination annually – at least. Thus endeth our first annual mother-daughter road trip!