New England – The Fall & ‘Leaf Peeping’ Season, and a bit more Lobster!

Published: November 2nd 2014
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Boston to Portland, Maine

Its downtown on the Metro to pick up the car we have hired for 2 weeks to travel New England and enjoy the changing colours of the autumn foliage that the area is famous for. It’s ‘rush hour’ at Alamo as there are queues out of the door. However, they process folks pretty quick & we are soon on our way out of central Boston. This is when we realise that the city and its neighbourhoods go on forever. It’s a bit dismal and raining as we take Route 1 out of town.

We stop at Newburyport for a quick break and pop into the Plum Island Coffee Roasters café by the sea. It’s a great location and the coffee is good. Soon we are travelling into New Hampshire and the scene changes to one typical of New England, white clapboard buildings, white churches with tall steeples and surrounded by landscape changing colour. It’s really picturesque. The Halloween pumpkins are out on many homes door steps – some with rustic dolls that add to the colour.

When we stop for some gas, we pop into the local liquor store and are shocked at how cheap booze is in NH. The tax is obviously very low. A 1.75 litre bottle of Canadian club that we normally would pay $33 to 42 for – depending on state is only $16.99 here. Wow!

Soon we arrive in Maine, which is considered ‘The’ Lobster Province in the US. Just over the border in Portsmouth is the Union Lobster House and as it’s lunch time we go for a Lobster Roll & Seafood Chowder which is fantastic. The place itself is like a Shack by the seaside and quite simple but there are plenty of locals here - most of them enjoying a basic lobster roll for $5.99.

We move on and the local Speed Limit varies between only 25 to 45 mph mostly so we make slow progress but we are in no hurry and its good discipline for us if we are to enjoy the beauty of the countryside. All along the way, there are lobster or seafood shacks.

We drive through Kittery which seems to have a host of Malls – all Outlet shops for most of the brand names – Ralph Lauren, Nike, etc. Next is a town called Ogunquit which is really lovely and colourful with many Halloween, dolls, effigies (some ghoulish), and pumpkins on show along the road. They are performing a musical version of ‘The Adams Family’ here as well. So far so good and it looks great, then we hit Biddeford and from here to the Saco area the landscape is towns and a swathe of New England that is pretty run down and looks like it needs huge levels of investment and regeneration. Even the lobster shacks disappear.

Finally the rain stops as we are approaching the outskirts of Portland where we will be based for 3 nights.

Portland, Maine and the surrounding area – Lobster Land

We arrive in Portland at about 5 pm. We are booked into a local B&B – the Inn at St John – which is just on the outside of inner Portland by the local baseball ground. The area looks a bit sketchy but you can say that about much of Portland as it looks as if it’s long overdue a makeover. Though when we do get to walk around the downtown central area, there are some nice streets and buildings and squares.

The B & B itself is quite good and our room is really good with TV etc. They also include a good breakfast that gives us a great start to the day.

We’ve decided to eat out for lunch and have light snacks for dinner so we head off to Trader Joes for supplies. It’s an interesting store. They mainly sell own brand stuff but the range is huge and eclectic including the first Indian ready meals we’ve seen in the US, including Uttapam which you only get in specialist stores in the UK!

Most of the eateries are along the quayside on Commercial Street but when we drive through at 7-30pm its pretty quiet, probably due to the grim weather. Still it looks like there are some interesting options and it will probably be good for a mooch with some sunshine.

Next day is cloudy & dull so we go to the Visitor Centre for local info. Nearby is the station for the Narrow Gauge railway that runs along the bay but we don’t go for it as it will take out too much time as today is our granddaughter Olive’s first birthday so we head back to the room to FT with her and her mum. They’ve been to the aquarium which she loved apparently and she’s still on fine form. Can’t wait to see her in 3 weeks!

In the afternoon we drive to Boothbay Harbor about an hour away up the coast for a late lunch at Lobster Dock. We try the lobster roll and lobster stew – not bad and enjoy the views back across the harbour. The sun comes out and the area looks awesome, a slightly less colourful version of Lunenburg in Nova Scotia, with buildings on stilts over water and a harbour full of yachts. It’s also the town that has the longest wooden boardwalk bridge across the harbour in America (and a house in the middle of the bridge that’s for sale much to C’s delight).

On the way back to Portland we stop at Wiscasset, supposedly the prettiest town in Maine. It has some nice buildings – some quite grand as it used to be one of the ports of entry to the US so was quite a major town in the 1800’s. So we grab a few photo’s then race to get to Portland Head Lighthouse in South Portland before sunset. We just about make it but the light isn’t great so we decide to come back tomorrow.

It’s a lovely sunny day so we decide to make the most of the local area and head for Ogunquit (about 30 miles away) as it looked nice when we drove through it on the way here 2 days ago. As the forecast is for cloudy weather later we head for the 95 Toll Road ($1) to get there quickly and drive back on Route 1 the slow way back. The drive is really colourful as the foliage colours are definitely Fall in full bloom!

Once in Ogunquit we tour the area slowly stopping off frequently to take pictures of the various festive dolls outside for Harvest and Halloween. It’s creative and really colourful.

However, as the cloud cover seems to be coming in, we decide to rush back rather than drift back because we want to see Downtown Portland and the Lighthouse in all its glory in the sunshine. Once in town we have a coffee at Bards and walk around the cobbled streets and historic parts of town (about 3 streets deep and 5 blocks wide). As it’s the end of the season many shops have sales on – mainly clothes. We explore the old town & the waterfront Wharfs & Piers which is quite picturesque. Surprisingly we notice that many large corporate firms operate here – Sotheby’s Realty, Morgan Stanley etc. We are not sure why as the place has the feel of a dying town – tired and living on past history & Seafood which is big here. There are a few fresh Lobsters & Seafood retailers (Lobsters for$5.99 a lb Wow!).

This is a port of call for cruise ships and one is in town today so things are busy. Apparently there is a ship from here to Nova Scotia in Canada. The various Tourist Trollys & Buses are out in force as are the street arts & crafts vendors by the dockside in the sun.

It’s lunch time and we have found on the net a food truck called ‘Bite into Maine’ which operates near the main lighthouse and does the best Lobster rolls in town. We just have to try this. And yes it’s there. They are on the high bank of the area near the Lighthouse. It has to be the Lobster & Corn Chowder & 2 lobster rolls (1 with hot butter, the other in Wasabi Mayo) – absolutely fabulous and much better & cheaper than Boothbay Harbor. What’s better is that the picnic tables they have outside allow you to sit and watch the most beautiful view of the Atlantic Sea do its thing in the bay. On a sunny day we couldn’t think of anywhere better to be. Yummmmmm!

The Portland Head Lighthouse is a spectacular site and is one of ‘The’ photographic spots in Portland. In the distance is another smaller Lighthouse that adds to the charm of it all. The blue Atlantic is a bit ferocious and the crashing waves of the sea add to the splendour of the Lighthouse. Apparently Henry Wordsworth Longfellow – the famous poet – came here a lot and used the inspiration from here to pen his poem ‘The Lighthouse’.

Later we make our way to Cape Elizabeth (which is about 5 miles away) to see the 2 Lighthouses there & Lobster Shack. One of the lighthouses has been decommissioned and the other looks good but not quite a majestic as the Portland Head Lighthouse. They are both near the Lobster Shack – another local institution – however, we are glad we passed on them for the Food Truck as their lobster rolls don’t look half as appetising.

As its sunny we had planned to have an ice cream for pudding but the Kettle Cove Creamery & Café (voted best ice cream place in town) is closed for the season & the GPS takes us a route that by passes Reds Diary Freeze – the alternative so C misses out on her fix for the day. Hey ho.

Portland to Conway/North Conway & The White Mountains

After the lovely breakfast at the B & B we brave the weather. It’s a really miserable day with constant drizzle and poor visibility the whole way (60 miles) to Conway. We are booked into the White Mountain Hostel. It’s near to North Conway which is the centre of all activity in the area and is in the Mount Washington Valley. Not that we can see much as the rain & mist makes visibility a problem here as well.

Unfortunately due to a problem with our private room booking we end up in Dorms & bunks for a night but no problem as the Hostel is clean and convenient, and the folk are friendly. The rooms are a good size and the bunks comfortable – besides we are promised a private room for our stay the next day.

We drive into North Conway via the local Covered Bridge - a feature and attraction of the area (there are several of them). It’s a Saturday and traffic is really slow and heavy through what essentially a skiing and outdoor activity town. It’s the weekend and prime time for ‘leaf peeping’. The area has a good reputation for amazing colours in the Fall and folks come from miles around to experience this New England highlight.

We drive to Jackson (a nearby town) and come across a host of Halloween Pumpkin people scenes in various front gardens. The range was Peanuts with Snoopy and Friends (we see this a lot – not sure why), A Christmas Carol characters including Scrooge etc. and a very modern set with Martians landing by a Lodging House & being invited in. They definitely go to town for Halloween in the US. We suppose it’s one way of making use of all the surplus pumpkins harvested at this time of year.

For dinner we go to the Flatbread Company, but as the wait is 1 hour we switch tack and have a ‘Take Out’ instead – a lovely thin & crispy pizza with Maple & Fennel Sausage topping. No tomato sauce variety. We have to drive back in pouring rain with visibility being a real problems as many US towns and cities don’t have lit roads outside the central area.

After the torrential rain of the previous day (which they say was badly needed as they have had a dry summer & hose pipe bans are in place), we wake up to a lovely sunny morning.

We have decided to try and cover a lot of ground and start with viewing the Covered Bridges – a feature of the area and quite popular as many people come just to view and photograph them. The first one is Albany Bridge, from 1858, which is at the bottom of Passaconaway Road which in itself is a lovely drive with trees making a tunnel through which we drive alongside the Swift River. The autumn leaves are falling and as the wind blows the leaves seem to scurry along the road like little creatures running from ensuing disaster. It’s impressive and very picturesque.

Next it’s the Swift River Bridge from 1869, which you can’t drive through. It’s there with picnic tables for visitors to enjoy. Nearby is the Saco river bridge form 1890 which we pass though each day on the way to North Conway & the main shops, eateries etc. in the area.

One of the delights of autumn is to take the Scenic drive along the Kancamagus Highway 113 from Conway to Lincoln in New Hampshire. It’s 36 miles of amazing colour and runs through the White Mountains National Forest. There are plenty of stopping & scenic viewing points along with hordes of people on a Sunday from all over the US it seems.

After a few hours we get to Lincoln – which is largely a ski resort and not much to write home about other than the colours of the surrounding forest. Wow. It does have a few good eateries and guided by Trip Advisor we go to the Gypsy Café – just in time it seems. Within 15 minutes the queues outside the place are huge. It’s an eclectic joint with food offering from around the world. We have a great surf & turf burger and a ‘Tunisian’ Bison Burger - The latter, a bit dry but enjoyable none the less.

On advice from the waitress we take the 93 along the Franconia Highway for ore leaf peeping then to see the Cog Railway which takes people to the top of Mt Washington – the highest point in New England. It’s all a bit familiar like Mt Snowdon in Wales; train trip up, stay a while, train trip down. The views and pictures of Mt Washington could be a replica of Snowdon.

On our way back to Jackson we pass through Bretton Woods – famous for the Mt Washington Hotel (an odd Grand Hotel in the middle of nowhere), where leaders of the Western World met in 1944 to create the World bank & IMF to provide for economic stability in the world. Then through lovely foliage and pass a waterfall (Silver Cascade) swarming with tourists (many of whom seem to be Indian, Japanese, Chinese or Korean). And finally back to Jackson for a coffee and then back to the hostel – now to a private room as one is available. It’s quite comfortable.

Conway NH to Rutland, Vermont & The Green Mountains, via Woodstock (Vermont)

After a good night’s sleep we are up at 7am and ready to leave for Vermont and more ‘Leaf Peeping’. It’s a glorious sunny day – though cooler. We take the Kancamagus Highway again & enjoy the ride with little or no traffic about all the way to Woodstock in Southern Vermont via Lincoln & Woodsville.

It’s interesting that the foliage past Lincoln isn’t too impressive or colourful till we get to Quechee where there is a Gorge – considered to be Vermont’s Grand Canyon. They are definitely talking marketing speak. It’s not a patch on the Real McCoy. Woodstock is about 7 miles west of here.

Woodstock is reputed to be ‘the prettiest town in America’. It’s quite pretty and expensive; however, we are not sure about it being the prettiest. It’s a sort of gentrified English town with lovely wooden buildings (very colonial American). The white buildings and church steeples contrast well with the surrounding multi-coloured foliage of autumn. There are 5 long pointed steeple churches in town and a square Green that is popular for picnics. The area also has a few Covered Bridges to add to the local attractions.

It’s a “historic” town - most towns have some sort of ‘Historic’ tag or the other. The whole area is known for famous events and battles during the American War of Independence against the British – some they lost & some they won, and a few “famous sons” lived here including a Rockefeller, and Lincoln’s advisor etc.

We stop off at Mon Vert Café (to go with the Green Mountains of Vermont). They do a great coffee and then, after wandering the streets of Woodstock and taking in the delights of the town along with a multitude of visitors from all over the US, we stop at the Village Butchery for some awesome sandwiches for lunch – rare roast beef & Vermont cheese with bacon & tomato. Just right! C is determined to try a Vermont ice cream so we go to the Mountain Creamery and enjoy a fabulous Vermont Maple Walnut cone.

Vermont is famed for its cheeses so we try a few though in all honesty we’re not wowed by them. And we discover that maple syrup is also a major product here – we thought it was just a Canadian thing.

We leave for Rutland where we are staying about 30 miles away, when the clouds start to come in and drive through Bridgewater where the colours of the foliage are even better than Woodstock. Definitely worth visiting if you are this way. The landscape reminds us of England in parts.

We get to our Motel – The Days Inn, early in the evening and discover that we are near a Denny’s. Serendipitous perhaps and we will definite go there one night for dinner. The Motel is pretty nice and the room spacious and comfortable. Good value too.

Rutland is like most American cities – pretty spread out with a small central area. We are staying near a shopping Mall and visit Hannaford’s for some food. The forecast for the next 2 days is not brilliant but we will go with the flow.

Next day here it starts rainy but starts to clear up late in the morning so we drive Route 100 to Dover which local information suggests is the most scenic route for leaf peeping in Vermont. The region is famous for the colours on The Green Mountains to the south. They are right. We stumble across a lovely little place called Weston. It’s lovely, quaint and definitely a rural delight. There are a few general stores and eateries which allows for all the tourist buses to make it a stop for snacks, gifts, restroom stop etc.

We drive on via Londonderry – where we have a coffee – then onto Dover and Wilmington. There are some delightful views along the way; however, the weather is not being too kind to allow us to take pictures of the landscape which looks less than amazing when it’s cloudy.

We stop in Wilmington for a late lunch. It’s a lovely village, with loads of taverns, pubs and eateries. We settle for Dot’s Restaurant on the river which is essentially a diner and has a lovely community history to it. It’s been going for over 50 years; however in 2011 a storm caused the village to flood and the place got destroyed. Rather than abandon the place, the community and various agencies got together to provide the funds ($600k) to have it reinstated and it’s going strong since. We have a simple meatloaf sandwich and blueberry pie which is super. They clearly are an institution and well worth a visit.

We drive back via the fast Route 7and get prepared for the journey to Williamstown in Massachusetts where we will spend 2 nights. There’s a lot to see but the forecast for tomorrow is rain. However, the next 4 days should be sunny, so fingers crossed.

We try some Vermont Cider (the Citizen brand – strapline ‘By the People For the People) which is really good, then head to Denny’s for a nostalgic steak and egg meal. Such an institution!

Rutland, Vermont to Williamstown, Massachusetts & The Mohawk Trail

The next day is grey but the rain holds off as we make our way down Route 7 from Rutland to Williamstown (Mass). The foliage along the 7 in Vermont looks pretty good so the drive is enjoyable. Once in Massachusetts, the colours diminish. Williamstown is a really small college town. We stop off for some coffee and after lunch at the Moonlight Diner (basic and not much to write about) we check into the Howard Johnson Inn on the edge of town.

We are at the edge of the area known as The Berkshires which extends south to Stockbridge.

As it’s sunny we decide to make for Stockbridge – a pretty swish and lovely town about 35 miles south. The foliage is not very good for most of the journey but the town is pretty swanky. It has the historic Red Lion Inn – an amazingly grand old building from 1777, which looks the part externally and internally. It has the largest pumpkins outside we have ever seen. There are many large wooden constructed buildings which cost a packet here ($1m+). Compare this to a 4bed place we saw on the way here on sale for only $126,000 (£75K). What we have noticed is that property prices in most of the New England States are really inexpensive (most, if not all, timber built) with acres of land thrown in. On the way back we go via South Stockbridge & Pittsfield where the petrol is only $3.12 a gallon. We’ll fill up when we go past here next time.

C gets up with hip problems again; it was a cool night which seems to affect her, but the day is lovely and sunny – very autumnal. We start by driving to North Adams – which actually starts a mile down the road from the motel. The local cemetery is really impressive with amazing coloured trees and the lighting just right so we stop for a few shots. North Adams is much bigger than we had anticipated. It’s quite striking in parts in the valley while mountains around are multi coloured.

After a quick stop for some advice from the Visitor Centre we drive to the ‘Hairpin’. It’s a local viewing spot which gives you an amazing panorama of colours in the valley below. We are driving Route 2 towards Greenfield aka The Mohawk Trail, a route that the local Mohawk Native Indians used in the past. It is quite famous as America’s first scenic Highway and is celebrating its 100 year anniversary in 2014.

We get to Buckland and stop as across the river is Shellburne Falls village. It is quite famous for 2 things: 1) The Flower Bridge which the community have made into a flower decorated walking bridge since 1928. It’s quite pretty. And 2) The Shellburne Falls & Glacial Potholes. The Falls were known as the ‘Salmon Falls’ when the Native Indians lived here and the Glacial Potholes are just that; formed by glacial erosion over 500 years by glacial movement. They are totally natural and quite impressive.

We take time out to enjoy the village which is quite quaint and an example of how a small community comes to together. There are a number of co-operatives here – food, arts & crafts, writing, music, yoga etc. There seems to be a lot going on here. The ‘High Street’ is a vision of a small frontier town, looking antiquated with an impressive Iron Bridge for traffic which provides the traffic link to Buckland. It’s really charming.

We can’t help but admire the co-operative & community spirit here, something we have noticed a lot of in New England a lot – perhaps because it is so rural. This ethos also underpins the Credit Union movement that seems really strong in the US. Well done to them.

After coffee at the local Mocha Maya’s café we move on to Brattleboro which is near the end of the Trail. We are surprised to see signs saying ‘Black Bear Xing’ and later ‘Moose Xing’ – not that we see either animal.

We stop for lunch at a lovely place called the Whetstone Station in Brattleboro, which has a beautiful location on the side of the river by a great looking Iron Bridge. We enjoy the lunch on the patio outside – an amazing stuffed Portobello mushroom sandwich/burger & a Fried Catfish with rice & beans. The waitress Cheryl is a real start – C gets to taste at least 4 drinks before making a decision.

It’s off to Bennington in Vermont next via Route 9 and right through the Green Mountains again, making a brief stop off at the Creamery Covered Bridge which looks lovely especially as it has a host of trees showing a variety of autumnal colours surrounding it. Then it’s a quick stop off at Hannaford for more Citizen Cider to cheer C up as she has had a rough day & back to the Motel for dinner in again. The Leaf Peeping season is nearly over. We have just one more stop further south in Connecticut.

Williamstown, Mass; to Torrington, Connecticut & The Litchfield Hills

The drive from Williamstown to Litchfield is 76 miles. As we leave Williamstown we are aware that we haven’t quite done it justice. We didn’t take any pictures of the eclectic mix of building here. The wooden colonial homes and churches, stone built churches and halls and the ultra-modern college, arts & theatre buildings are interesting. (Though we feel the locals could do with improving their driving skills – indicate & don’t stop wherever and whenever you want guys. Its f***ing annoying.)

Litchfield is a pretty little place in Connecticut. It has a small hut as its Visitor Information hub in the middle of the village green. The autumn colours are a bit disappointing though. We try some of the woods (The Litchfield Hills) around and the White Memorial Conservation Centre (4,000 acres of land to promote sustainability & conservation) – where no one is around and it has no amenities. And we make a stop at the Lourdes Shrine just outside town, which is peaceful and interesting. Then we make our way to Torrington where we stay at the Days Inn for the night.

The Town has seen better days as an Industrial centre and looks run down and poverty stricken. The main street has many empty shops. For dinner we visit Backstage – a local eatery with a good rating on Trip Advisor. It’s an old department store converted to a very good restaurant, next door to a retro theatre. We had one of the best Meatloaf’s, Braised Pork Belly & NY style cheesecake – great value and definitely the best thing about the town.

Torrington, Conn; to Plymouth, Mass; via Hartford, Norwich & Rhode Island

It’s raining when we leave the Days Inn and after dropping off our spare Travel bag at the Sally Army Thrift shop we head for Plymouth our next stop 170 miles away by the coast.

As we make our way towards Hartford (the state capital), the autumn colours look much nicer. Hartford itself is a city in decay and looks poverty stricken even though we are only driving through. It’s not a place we would have wanted to stop at or see. The traffic is heavy and slow. Eventually we get to Norwich and were amazed that we couldn’t even find a coffee shop. Eventually we find a small store that did filter coffee – run by an Indian guy.

Connecticut clearly doesn’t do it for us at all.

Soon we enter Rhode Island State and boy what a contrast. The autumn colours are on a par with Vermont. The woods look brilliant & we feel quite disappointed that we can’t stop & go for a short walk due to the heavy rain. It’s the end of our leaf peeping……

Finally we get to Plymouth on the East Coast. Yes this is Plymouth Rock where the first Pilgrim Fathers arrived from England in 1620. It’s surprisingly a very small town (we expected a large city) and we head for the Town Pier to Wood’s Seafood Shack for a late lunch. It’s 3 pm but it’s busy with locals as its Saturday. We are surprised by the cost of our meal – a lobster & chips, Clam Chowder & 2 Crab cakes all for £18 – amazing value in a wooden diner on the seafront. Boy these guys are so lucky. The food is ‘wicked good’!

Later driving to the motel (Blue Spruce Motel – a bit expensive at $144 for the night) 7 miles away, we pass the replica of the ship that arrived here in 1620 and go past some amazingly beautiful and large American Colonial homes & mansions along the way. The place has money – no question.

We chill out at the motel out of the rain & cool weather and end up watching ‘The Blind Side’ – based on a true story and won Sandra Bullock an Oscar. The film was great but M’s not sure he agrees with the Oscar.

Plymouth, Mass; to Provincetown, Cape Cod, Mass; via Falmouth, Brewster & Wellfleet

After a great breakfast (so unusual to get fruit cocktail, Banana Bread, Feta, Olives etc at a motel), we leave to explore Plymouth (all 2 streets of downtown). We get a bit lost as we aren’t paying attention, then rush around taking pictures of the replica of The Mayflower II which brought the Pilgrim Fathers here.

It’s a gloriously sunny day and the tourists are in town – it’s also Columbus weekend – a holiday weekend in the US, so folks from all over the US are here on vacation. We visit ‘The Rock’ – which we discover is a myth – a story created about 100 years after the landing and there is no historic foundation to it. US Marketing at its best again!! When did truth get in the way of a good story – not in the US we have discovered.

We make for Falmouth by the sea and as we are running late for a FT session with Sarah, we make for the Pie in the Sky Bakery & Internet Café in Woods Hole a mile from Falmouth. The session is interrupted by connection problems and an obnoxious woman who objected to the link up as it was disturbing her (and we were outside). She & her chums were talking a lot louder so after a while M had to put her in her place – kindly and assertively – even C approved!

It’s 1.30pm so we head for Brewster as we have identified a nice place to have lunch. However, after an hour and a half driving, we discover that the place has closed for the season. So quick change of plan and we make for Wellfleet famous for its Oysters. We get to Wicked Oyster & it’s shut as it’s past lunch time and finally find Mac’s Shack which has stopped lunch as its 3.45 pm but will serve Oysters and Sushi. It’s a wow and boy, are we grateful!

Eventually we get to Provincetown and the Atlantic Light Inn where we are booked in. It’s a lovely guesthouse with beautiful rooms run by a couple of guys, Joe & Steve, who are really friendly and have been running the place for just over one season. They also provide the most amazing breakfast – homemade granola, homemade scones, yoghurts, fruit etc. So, so good!

Provincetown is a very pretty seaside town and is famous for being the only point in the East Coast of the US from where you can see the sun set into the Ocean – seems unreal but apparently it’s true. We make for Herring Cove beach from where we see the sunset – the best we have seen for months. We walk there (1.5 miles each way) as we have been on the road all day – which is a drag but circumstances have conspired against us.

Commercial Street is the main drag and we check out the place. It’s definitely a place that embraces the gay and lesbian community and many bars etc. have the Gay Pride Banner on display. We discover the Old Colony Tap – a really seedy looking dive bar but that’s its charm. The beer is great and the music from the juke box is old school. Its fun!! Then it’s dinner at The Canteen – grilled Brussel sprouts, awesome Cajun shrimps and a hot lobster roll. Prices here are a lot higher than Plymouth though – not surprising for this is a trendy town.

As we drove so much yesterday we decide to spend a day here just mooching, walking on the beach and taking photo’s around town and enjoy the best Lobster Mac & Cheese for lunch at The Canteen.

It brightens up in the afternoon and we spend some time with Joe when we stop for tea. He gives us another scone and some Banana Bread and while we are discussing travel, history, politics, religion etc. – as you do – he informs us that the Pilgrim Fathers actually arrived in Provincetown, Cape Cod first (now recognised by the Plymouth lot) and moved to Plymouth after 4 or 5 weeks as they found the conditions here difficult to farm. They did meet and trade with the local American Indians at the time. Wow – another piece of American history rewritten.

In the evening we revisit the Old Colony Tap & enjoy our last Wellfleet Oysters & Shrimp sliders at Canteen before we go to a local comedy show by the famous lesbian comedian Suzanne Westenhoefer. She does a stand-up routine for about an hour and is quite good and very un-PC which given the audience is surprising. It’s Women’s Week – all this week we discover – hence the hordes of lesbians from all over the US.

Provincetown, Cape Cod to Boston, Mass:

After another awesome breakfast C gets the recipes for the Granola and the scones from Steve and we set off trying to keep the amount of gas in the car to a minimum as we have to return it empty. The morning is overcast and dull for most of the way back.

We stop at Plymouth and pop into Woods Seafood place on the pier for lunch and enjoy a lobster with a scallop role and crab cakes. It’s Boston next and despite driving in at 3 pm the traffic is heavy. It’s like being on the M 25 on a Friday in London – pants. We stop off at the Oasis B & B to get our luggage out and then return the car at the Waterfront. Its 81 degrees and humid – phew.

The sun is out so we walk back via the centre of Boston, the Common and the Cheers Bar – the inspiration for the TV series. It’s time to repack & prepare for our trip to Philadelphia before we meet up with Louise, Ben and Olive in New York City - which we are looking forward to……. and finally, another awesome Burger from the Boston Burger company – 5 stars guys!

Philadelphia here we come …….

Additional photos below
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3rd November 2014
The Red Lion - Stockbridge

One big pumpkin!
What a fantastic leaf-peeping tour! I'm going to follow your tour when I return to the US--love your leaf and restaurant recommendations! I'm glad you found a Trader Joe's--they have great European (Stilton cheese, etc) foods as well as pretty economical tipples. Pretty interesting that the Pilgrims were first in Cape Cod, now such a pricey destination. I'll bet their descendents are sad they didn't stay. Looking forward to what American myths you dig up in Philly.
3rd November 2014
The Red Lion - Stockbridge

One big pumpkin!
What a fantastic leaf-peeping tour! I'm going to follow your tour when I return to the US--love your leaf and restaurant recommendations! I'm glad you found a Trader Joe's--they have great European (Stilton cheese, etc) foods as well as pretty economical tipples. Pretty interesting that the Pilgrims were first in Cape Cod, now such a pricey destination. I'll bet their descendents are sad they didn't stay. Looking forward to what American myths you dig up in Philly.
2nd June 2016

Hi Michael and Caroline! You are amazing travelers, thank you for sharing your experience and I hope it's not finish!! Enjoy ;)

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