For the last week I’ve been driving around New England in a rental car, just exploring the northeast. I’ve been to Providence, Cape Cod, Boston, Portland, various points in New Hampshire and Vermont, and Philadelphia so far. Some destinations were of historical importance (Walden Pond, Sleepy Hollow Cemetary), but most were completely random (Woodstock, Vermont). Here are the lessons I’ve learned:
- The roads in and around Boston and Philadelphia actually make less sense and are more frustrating than New York. NY streets are generally grid-like, whereas Philly and Boston are all triangle patterns and medieval-narrow widths. Trying to get from Berklee College of Music to Fenway Park only a few blocks away, was a Griswoldian nightmare of urban circumnavigation. Also, the suburbs feature parkways that give you no place to turn around, and that are so shrouded in shrubbery that you have no idea if a given exit has an underpass or not. You don’t know what will happen. I drove for 15 minutes down a highway before I took a chance on an overpass.
- Massachusetts apparently has laws against gas nozzle latches. So you have to hold the thing the whole time. This actually sucks worse than New Jersey where you’re not allowed to pump your own gas at all.
- Maps of Massachusetts show a “Walden Pond” deep inside an impenetrable fortress of residential streets in the town of Lynn. Needless to say, this is not the Walden Pond you’re looking for. It’s near Concord, which you’d know if you bothered to look it up.
- Moose collisions are a legitimate threat to your vehicular safety in Maine. Mind you, moose collisions kan be pretti nasti.
- Vermont is a lot like northern Arkansas if every town were like Eureka Springs. Seriously I never once saw a vehicle on blocks, major appliances in a yard, or anything that wasn’t disturbingly picturesque. The entire state is like a watercolor painting, or the set of Gilmore Girls.
More observations as they come to me. I should have written this stuff down earlier but the days have been packed. I’m still not sure what to do with the remainder of the week until the car is due back. I think tomorrow I’ll go up to the Catskills and see what happens.
Oh, and I’d also like to give big ups to Red Roof Inns for having THE most comfortable hotel bed I think I’ve ever slept in. And kudos to the desk clerk who gave me the “all-in” upgrade (king size bed plus free wi-fi) despite my expired AAA card, which made the night only slightly more expensive than the Motel 6’s that have thus far anchored my travels.