Our Western Loop was pretty carefree. We were visiting friends and seeing places one or the other (or both) of us had seen before. No pressure, really, until we got to the Seattle area, which neither of us knew as well. But even there, we had an idea what we should see, so that's where we went (except Canada).
But the Northeast? Well.... They have leaves that turn colors in the fall. And they have history that didn't have anything to do with Spain or Mexico. The Shot Heard Round the World was in New Hampshire, right?
The Northeast is a big place (okay, not as big as the West), and I'm the planner, and I have no idea where to go beyond vague images of winding roads down tree-lined lanes. No, that's not quite accurate. I do have a few specifics:
- My brother in Massachusetts
- My sister-in-law in Upstate New York
- The world's longest covered bridge in Hartland, New Brunswick, Canada
Other than that, I haven't figured out. I know there's a lot to see, places that would be beautiful or interesting, places that would cry out to the photographer in me. But I don't know where they are.
So I've started looking at Maine in our travel books, and I'm getting overwhelmed. There's a lighthouse just south of the Canadian border that looks like it's wearing the red-and-white striped socks from the Wicked Witch of the West. And there's a state park in the center of Maine where moose like to gather (we were disappointed at not seeing any moose in the West). And some of the places to see have already started closing for the winter.
I'm at the point where the old fears of failure are trying to come back to haunt me. I don't want to mess up the trip by having us drive right past some spectacular Must See, but the books show everything without ranking them. I think what I need is a narrowing-down by category: For the bird-watcher, go to these places. For scenery, go here. For shopping, go to this town (I'll skip that one. Not a big shopper). That would help.
I'll get over the nervousness. When we hit the road for the Northeast, we'll go somewhere, and we'll see something, and I'll take pictures, and it will be fine. It's just the planning that's a little tough...
On a side note, I was advised some time ago that the Elwood Haynes Museum in Kokomo, Indiana, was a yawner to a young schoolboy on a field trip. But it made the cut in my book, "Off the Beaten Path," which tells about lesser-known places to visit. Maybe it's better suited to grownups.