Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Trip - Planning for the Northeast

I'm nervous.

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
  • Gettysburg
  • The world's longest covered bridge in Hartland, New Brunswick, Canada
  • Philadelphia

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.


Charlie said...

The curse of too many choices. Try not to fret too much about missing something wonderful -- there are lots of great things to see up in the northeast. Gettysburg would be very high on my list (I was there as a teen and would like to go again), and it's in the Pennsylvania Dutch/Amish country, which is worth seeing.

The thing about the midwest and east is that it is so much more congested than the west that you can't whiz from place to place as quickly. You have to go slower. If you like quaint towns and off-the-beaten-track stops, there are thousands of them. You'll discover lots of regional differences in a very small area.

I'd suggest picking some interesting destinations that are regionally representative (Great Lakes, Maine coastline, NY Adirondacks, Pennsylvania farmland, etc), and as you go from one to another you'll see lots of interesting bonus sights that you'll enjoy, too.

I'm envious. Already making my own plans for a grand US tour.

SkyePuppy said...


Thanks. Great advice. I feel better already.

Christina said...

Charlie beat me to one suggestion: Amish country in Pennsylvania.

My parents used to drag me and my sister there at least once a summer when we were little kids. We hated it. They obviously loved it.

Now, I could appreciate it a lot more, and I understand why they went. It is beautiful in the summer/fall, just to see the colorful patchwork of fields and farms and barns and cows...Very picturesque. Plus the homemade Amish food....even as a kid, that was worthwhile.

How far southeast are you heading? For instance, the inner harbor of Baltimore has some great seafood and a nice aquarium. Ocean City, Maryland and some of the smaller (quainter) beaches in Delaware are nice....I just don't know if any of that area is on your agenda.

Oh and Williamsburg, VA. is very touristy in the summer, but it has some interesting historical stuff.

Just some thoughts for your planning!