One of the delights of this summer-long road-trip has been ticking states off our lists! There are many that we have simply driven through – 2 hours in New Mexico, one hour in Mississippi. We realise that we haven’t SEEN those states but there’s still excitement every time we cross a state line and see a new sign. So the long drive from Washington DC (well, Arlington) to New Haven, Connecticut was fab because we went through SEVEN ‘states’! Virginia – DC (not a state but you know…) – Maryland – Delaware – New Jersey – New York – Connecticut! I had the dubious pleasure of driving the NY stage of the trip – it was a little stressful and my palms were sweaty but we survived and it was kind of thrilling. The boys caught sight of the NY skyline and even a tiny State of Liberty. NYC, we’ll be back for you soon.
The next stage of our trip is around New England. Our plans are much looser now – we had a rough plan up until DC but now we have three weeks before we’re due anywhere and we were free to explore. This is rather lovely but also a little anticlimactic so I’ve drawn up a rough plan for the next three weeks and we’re getting excited about it.
We had two nights in Connecticut. We based ourselves just outside New Haven primarily because we could afford a hotel – New England is proving incredibly expensive in the summer. We’re not after fancy hotels but the cheaper hotels have dreadful reviews so we’re trying to find the balance between ‘good value’ and ‘not awful’, especially with kids.
Connecticut revealed itself quickly to be beautiful, expensive and fancy. It’s lushly wooded with gorgeous clapperboard houses. There are no ugly gas stations/restaurants along its motorways – signs indicate that there’s a gas station off at the next exit but when you exit, it turns out to be a good few miles along a pretty lane to a pretty town with a pretty (expensive) gas station. But the views were lovely and we were in no rush.
We had one full day to explore Connecticut. We wanted to hike….and we (the Husband and I) wanted to find a couple of little towns remeniscent of Gilmore Girls, one of our favourite TV shows and which was set here. Gilmore Girls is an unlikely choice of TV show for the Husband, I know, but we watched it after the last series of Game of Thrones and its gentle drama was such a relief…we knew that no Gilmore would have their head crushed by a giant or would be slaughtered by Wights!
The hike took place at Salmon River Forest. The car park (near the Day Pond) was free but had no maps on leaflets that we could carry so we had to take photos of the noticeboard and hope we couldn’t get lost.
In fact the trail was beautifully marked with blue blazes on the trees, it was easy to follow. The trail wound deep into the forest…I belatedly wondered about bears, mountain lions, snakes etc but the worst danger was the midges that got in our eyes and ears. The woods were beautiful but incredibly hot and humid, we sweated like crazy. Eventually we emerged at the goal of the race – the lovely Comstock covered bridge where we chilled for a while, soaking our feet in the cold river and skiming stones before the sweaty hike back to the car. 5 miles in total and really beautiful.
Gilmore hunting proved harder. We drove a long way across Connecticut to Washington Depot, which most Google searches indicated was like Stars Hollow. It was pretty but definitely NOT Stars Hollow. It did have a great bookshop. Then we drove to nearby New Milford which had a gazebo and was very pretty…but it also wasn’t Stars Hollow. Gilmore fail.
The next morning, before we headed off, I snuck out for an early morning run. It was definitely cooler than DC but not by much. I ran through pretty residential neighbourhoods, choosing which house I’d live in if I lived here.
Before leaving Connecticut, we stopped at Yale University. It was beautiful, reminded us enormously of Oxford! Made me wish I’d been clever enough to come here!
Our next stop was Massachusetts to the east. We stopped at Mystic near the Rhode Island border and ate decent but expensive pizza at Mystic Pizza and then we were off, into Rhode Island and onto Massachusetts. The Atlantic Ocean was waiting for us.