About Me

Tired of the mundane and craving an adventure, on Saturday, May 22nd, 2010, I embarked on the ultimate American road trip through all fifty states. After nearly a year and a half on the road, on a budget of less than 50 bucks a day, this is my story...


Gloucester Monument
Sunday, August 15, 2010
After leaving Portsmouth, NH, I entered Massachusetts, where my first stop was The Clam Box, a nationally recognized landmark, located approximately 30 miles north of Boston in historic Ipswich, where they've been serving legendary fried clams for over 60 years.  The line was that of Red's Eats - loooooooooooong.  Having already experienced the grueling wait for a lobster roll in Maine, I skipped the line, and offered a patron $1 to try a fried clam.  With their plate of fried clams piled sky high, he gave me fried clam free of charge :)  As I walked the the car I placed it in my mouth, and whadayaknow?  It tasted just like a fried clam, lol!  It was a good fried clam, and so are the ones at Red Lobster, where I don't need to wait in line for 90 minutes.  Glad to have tried it, and very glad to have learned my lesson at Red's Eats, I hopped in my car and headed onward.

My next stop was the village of Gloucester, "America's Oldest Seaport," established in 1623, and maybe better known for the location where the movie "The Perfect Storm" was shot.  As soon as I got to the harbor, traffic was stopped, the bridge was up, and they were letting the boat and sailing vessels in and out.  It was noticeable cold at the harbor, even in August, and one might even want long pants and a light jacket.  The sailboats, fishing boats, and jet boats were fun to see.  They proud to show off their toys, and they waived at the crowd of onlookers as they passed by.  I walked along the harbor, taking in the views and reading the inscriptions on the memorials.  Then I entered the "Crows Nest" bar, where Perfect Storm based the set for the bar scenes on.  The small, hole in the wall bar was full of locals chattering and laughing in their noticeable East Coast accents, and the walls were covered in photographs of locals and celebrities (mostly from the movie).  

Next I ventured into Salem, where even though it was obvious I had stumbled into the little town off-season, plenty of Halloween (the emphasis on witches of course) shops and amusements could be had.  I tried out the Salem Witch Museum, "both interesting and scary, the main draw of the museum (a former church) is a three-dimensional audiovisual presentation with life-size figures. The show takes place in a huge room lined with displays that are lighted in sequence. The 30-minute narration tells the story of the witchcraft trials and the accompanying hysteria. The well-researched presentation tells the story accurately, if somewhat over-dramatically."  I really enjoyed the show, and being educated on how the Salem Witch hysteria began (basically after hearing a story from their slave woman, a few bored girls thought it would be entertaining to make up a series of lies, each one creating more harm than the last, until it obviously got insanely out of hand), and I also very much enjoyed hearing a segment afterward in the other parts of the little museum that educated us on the Wicca religion (Salem having a community of about 2,000 Wicca people), arguably the very first religion, originating long before the Pharaohs.  

Next I arrived at Carol and Marty's in Newton, a community just outside of Boston.  They were the parents of my friend Jane, and though I had never met them before, they welcomed me into their home with big smiles and even bigger hearts, and I would soon find their warmth and hospitality winning me over, and becoming like Grandparents to me.   Nearly the first thing out of Carol's mouth upon my entering their home was if I had eaten :)  The three of us sat down and got acquainted, all over tea and the most amazing homemade pie I've ever tasted (a German plum pie recipe Carol made).  Carol showed me the room she had made up for me, and all the other things I would need, and then we made our way back downstairs to the  family room, where the 3 of us watched the movie, "The Messenger."  None of us had ever seen the movie, but soon after pressing play, we encountered quite the steamy sex scene.  The room grew quiet, and to help break up the awkward silence I jokingly stated, "What the heck kind of movies are you guys showing me here?!"  We all laughed and enjoyed the rest of the movie, one which really paints a needed portrait about the sides of war that no one ever wants to talk about - delivering the painstaking news to strangers that their precious loved one has died, seeing the loved one deal with the grief, and there are other very poignant story lines the film highlights. 

Boston Visitor Center
Monday, August 16, 2010 
After Carol served me a wonderful breakfast of toast, jam, cereal, and the best sharp cheddar cheese I've ever had in my life, Marty happily drove me to the nearby train stop, where I boarded the train which took me into downtown Boston.  I spent the whole day walking around.  After exploring the grounds of the beautiful Public Gardens, I walked the African American Heritage Trail, a walking tour through the beautiful Beacon Hill neighborhood, that explores the history of Boston's 19th century African American community, then walked the Freedom Trail, a 2.5 mile red-brick walking trail that leads you to 16 nationally significant historic sites, including the Boston Massacre and the Bunker Hill Monument.  Along the way I had real Boston Cream Pie at Durgin Park in Quincy Market, and had yummy cheese pizza at the historic Pizzeria Regina in Boston's Italian district, the "North End."  I bet you didn't know this, but I went to Harvard!  Yes, I took the subway to Harvard Square, and explored the prestigious university grounds, lol.   Oh, and I overheard a tour guide telling her group that the popular statue of John Harvard could be any one of three people, since they don't know what he looks like, because of a fire that destroyed any images of the founder.

At the end of the day Marty again happily helped me out with a ride, picking me up from the train stop and taking me "home," where Carol had their neighbor join us for a wonderful dinner party she had prepared, including a cold beet soup (heaven!), shrimp casserole, fresh salad, and plum pie :) 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010
This morning, after another hearty breakfast of scrambled eggs, toast, cereal, juice, etc., I went to Provincetown, or simply "P-Town" as the locals call it.  Located at the tip of Cape Cod, and having one of the largest gay communities in the country, Provincetown is America’s oldest art colony, the birthplace of American playwriting, named “best gay resort town”, and is a bike ride from two of America’s best beaches.  Additionally, they can be proud to be the number one destination for same sex weddings in America.  I explored the hip, happening, and quirky shops and art galleries of lively Commerce Street, ordered Tim's award-winning clam chowder at Lobster Pot (biggest chunks of clam I've ever had in a soup), had some great gelato at The Purple Feather, one of the street's many eateries, and ended the day driving down the rest of the coast of Cape Cod to two beaches:  Longnook Beach (awesome and not crowded1!) and Coast Guard Beach.

When I returned "home"to Carol & Marty's, Carol invited me to watch the movie "The Constant Gardener," while Marty focused on his game of golf.  Carol and I had a great time and good conversation after the movie was over.  I've enjoyed my time immensely with them over the past few days, and I know I'm really going to miss them when I leave in the morning.   

Wednesday, August 18, 2010
This morning I ate another delicious meal provided by the very generous Carol and Marty, who I think did a great job fattening me up for my journey on, lol.  Marty gave me a map yesterday, which he said for me to keep, which might really come in handy, and I just can't help but think of what wonderful, generous souls the both of them are, and how much I hope to see them again someday.  I said my goodbyes and left with wonderful memories, wonderful new friendships.

I boarded the shuttle from the lot where I left my car, arrived at Woods Hole where I got my tickets and boarded the Steamship Authority Ferry, which took me to to the village of Vineyard Haven on the island of Martha's Vineyard.  Phew, that's a lot of travel for day - and I get to do it twice, lol!  M.V. has 6 towns - Aquinnah (aka Gay's Head), Chilmark and West Tisbury, and the more populous towns of Edgartown, Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven - each with their own flavor.  I went to the ever popular Black Dog Shops, thinking there must be a something amazing about this place that has everyone and their mother wearing The Black Dog t-shirts.  I went to the shops, which today had a bunch of tents set up with table upon table of Black Dog t-shirts, as part of its Customer Appreciation Day.  I walked through all the tents and shops, stunned that every single shirt had the same simple image of a black dog on it - every shirt the exact same print!  People were going through the shirts like mad, snatching them up and grabbing their wallets!  Baffled, I scored some from free cake and got out of there.  

Cottages ready for the Grand Illumination in Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard
I got an all day bus pass for only $7 and headed to the quirky, colorful village of Oak Bluffs.  As soon as I got off the bus and checked out the views of the ocean, the green lawn park surrounded by beautiful Victorian houses, and streets of lined with cool gift shops and ice cream, I wanted in!  After viewing "the world's oldest carousel" - small and indeed old, lol - I stopped into local chain "Ben and Bill's Chocolate Emporium," which graces Oak Bluffs with their unfathomable tribute to New England: lobster ice cream. Yes, LOBSTER ICE CREAM!  That is ice cream, people, with chunks of lobster and butter!  And the list of enticing homemade flavors goes on and on, and in addition to their wondrous ice cream, they sell "salt water taffy, gourmet jellybeans, gummy aqua life, and to-die-for homemade chocolates sold by the pound."  As I sat on the outside bench enjoying my FOUR scoops of ice cream - Peach, Grapenut, Orange Pineapple, and of course Lobster - my huge bowl of ice cream turned out to be quite the conversation starter, both sets of people telling me to drop by their decked-out cottages if I have time this evening.  With having to take the ferry back, I wouldn't end up having time, but I was able to check out the neighborhood of cottages they were talking about, and they were awesome!  Like something out of a fairy tale land, all the colorful cottages were decorated top to bottom with lanterns and decorations, showing off for the Grand Illumination - an event so great it has brought the First Family to Oak Bluffs for vacation the past two years.

Next I took the bus to Edgartown, "one of New England's most elegant communities, and M.V.'s first colonial settlement (est 1642)."  I took a stroll and snapped some photos of well-preserved handsome, stately white Greek Revival houses built by the whaling captains.

Pressing on, I took the bus headed for Gay's Head, and it was on that ride that I met Melanie and Danielle, friends on a trip, and we all got along right off the bat, cracking jokes and sharing stories, and the three of us went to Gay's Head Lighthouse together.

On the ride back, we exchanged information and parted ways.  I caught the last ferry out, checked my email at a McDonald's in Bourne, and slept in my car at a Hampton Inn parking lot not too far away for the night.

Cape Cod/Provincetown
Martha's Vineyard


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