Rainy Honeymoon Tour of New England

IMG_3688 BLOG

In lieu of a honeymoon, we’re jetting to Mexico next week for another wedding – but we were definitely up for a little wandering in a [somewhat] foreign land, just the two of us, for a few days after our own wedding!

Neither of us had ever been to Portland, Maine, so that seemed like a logical place to take up residence and consume our body weights in seafood – but we couldn’t resist the urge to wander and check out a few more New England towns along the way.

Here are my typically inane impressions of each.

Laconia, New Hampshire

To break up the drive to Portland, we found a perfectly delightful bed and breakfast in adorable Laconia, New Hampshire. As a first bn’b experience for us both, it was highly successful – flowery wallpaper, bumbling but lovable innkeeper, fresh bran muffins in the morning. After checking in, we ventured out to the nearby town for a bedtime snack of chowder at a pub before turning in with a bottle of wine and the sound of driving rain against the windows (poetic, I know).

Laconia has a great old-school resort town feel, teeming with bowling alleys, mini-putt courses, drive-in theatres, clam shacks and ice cream parlours – none of which had opened for the season yet.

Pied-a-terre in Laconia.

Pied-a-terre in Laconia.

One of many drive-ins we couldn't visit.

One of many drive-ins we couldn’t visit.

Also closed.

Also closed.

The Police Motorcycle Museum in Meredith, New Hampshire. Like most other places in the area, it was closed.

The Police Motorcycle Museum in Meredith, New Hampshire. Like most other places in the area, it was closed.

Portland, Maine

It’s been said that the three Ls of Portland are lighthouses, L.L. Bean and lobstah –the latter of the three being of particular interest to us. Actually, in my books, the seafood alone would have been enough to merit a trip here. I would have considered any meal that didn’t prominently feature piles of mussels, clams, fish, scallops, oysters or lobster to be a hopeless failure.

Non-culinary discoveries in Portland included quirky shops, a fiercely proud movement promoting independent local businesses, and friendly people with vaguely adorable accents.

We met a young cab driver named Abel who, incredibly, was more sarcastic than we are.

We brought a bottle of chardonnay and some paper cups on the ferry to Peaks Island.

We walked all over town with little regard for the constant drizzle – I even embraced the chilly air and bought a woolly tuque at a kooky store with a “Keep Portland Independent” sticker. I looked idiotic, but there was noone to impress as I’m married now.

Eventide Oyster Co. - home of a heavenly brown butter lobster roll.

Eventide Oyster Co. – home of a heavenly brown butter lobster roll.

The Sicilian Slab - the pizza of the gods. Available at Micucci, a grocery store in downtown Portland.

The Sicilian Slab – the pizza of the gods. Available at Micucci, a grocery store in downtown Portland.

Time for a ferry ride!

Time for a ferry ride!

Peaks Island is only reachable by the ferry, which gets loaded up with all sorts of goodies from the mainland.

Peaks Island is only reachable by the ferry, which gets loaded up with all sorts of goodies from the mainland.

Peaks Island.

Peaks Island.

He's carding me!

He’s carding me!

Maine, YEAH!!!!!!

Maine, YEAH!!!!!!

Nerds.

Nerds.

Classic lobster roll.

Classic lobster roll.

Someone's calling on the lobster phone.

Someone’s calling on the lobster phone.

The towns of Kennebunkport and Ogunquit (both in Maine) are pretty damn cute, and so is Portsmouth, New Hampshire. I had my best chowder of the trip at the Cape Chowder House in Cape Porpoise.

Lobster traps in Cape Porpoise, near Kennebunkport.

Lobster traps in Cape Porpoise, near Kennebunkport.

Eat lobstah!

Eat lobstah!

Slow!

Slow!

Kid contemplating.

Kid contemplating.

Side note: Somewhere along the drive, during a now-inevitable rainstorm, the driver’s-side windshield wiper gave out. Great. Then, the other one followed suit. We could see that the problem couldn’t easily be fixed. The relentless downpour made visibility impossible and we had no choice but to pull over and wait it out, figuring we’d have to head straight back to Montreal once the rain subsided. Amazingly, despite being on a fairly barren-looking stretch of rural road, we managed to locate first an auto body shop (they couldn’t help), and then an auto parts store where we purchased a magical substance that repels rain. This stuff is miraculous! We sprayed some on and found it worked like a charm. Just like that, we were back in business.

Minor setback.

Minor setback.

"It's haahd ta say, without takin' the caah apaaht."

“It’s haahd ta say, without takin’ the caah apaaht.”

Providence, Rhode Island

Providence has stately, tree-lined avenues; majestic architecture and a bustling “Little Italy” (really just a regular neighbourhood with a lot of pasta restaurants). The Providence River runs through the centre, making the downtown feel a little Amsterdam-esque (but with fewer bicycles and brothels).

We couldn’t figure out decent accommodations after twenty minutes of googling in a McDonald’s parking lot (free wi-fi). Finally I got the Hilton to drop their absolutely retarded price. Why are hotels so expensive in this town? Who does Providence think it is?

Some other cool stuff we found in Providence: an old-school seafood restaurant for dinner, a fun “fresh, local, organic, etc etc etc” spot for brunch, a curiosity shop filled with useful items rather than the junk you expect to find in some places, and the best coffee shop of our travels so far.

This must be the Capitol?!

This must be the Capitol?!

Hemenway's.

Hemenway’s Seafood.

Racism is a sad fact of life in Providence.

Racism is a sad fact of life in Providence.

People were laughing at us when we took this.

People were laughing at us when we took this goofy picture.

Southern Vermont

To minimize driving time on the last day of our mini-moon, I thought it would be grand to find an adorable bn’b in the delightful southern Vermont ski town of West Dover. Unfortunately, the seemingly charming place I found online turned out to be the creepiest place I have ever set foot in – complete with haunting portraits of Victorian children over the mantleplaces. We went for dinner at a nearby pub and ended up closing the place, preferring to hang out and get toasted with total strangers than go back to haunted house.

Creepy Victorian children add to the romantic mood.

Creepy Victorian children add to the romantic mood.

When he heard we were Canadian, he played some Gordon Lightfoot, just for us! And then some Bob Dylan, because he was "from Minnesota and that's sort of near Canada."

When he heard we were Canadian, he played a Gordon Lightfoot tune, just for us! And then some Bob Dylan, because he’s “from Minnesota and that’s sort of near Canada.” The guy on the left was the bartender; it was tough getting a drink once he’d picked up a guitar.

Vermont could never be accused of failing to support its local artisans. It turned out that this was Open Studio Weekend – an Vermont-wide thing where artists, well, open up their studios to the public. We followed a couple of the ubiqitous yellow signs off the highway – one brought us to a really cool pottery studio, and the other to the home of a guy who prints his photographs on aluminum (guess who was excited about that?)

Get your rubber boots on! It's Open Studio Weekend!

Get your rubber boots on! It’s Open Studio Weekend!

This very kind pottery maker (potter?) showed us his kiln.

This very kind pottery maker (potter?) showed us his kiln, which heats up to 1200 degrees.

Now THIS is Vermont.

Now THIS is Vermont.

Do you know what morris dancing is? Neither did I! It's traditional New England farm dancing, as demonstrated by this morris dancing troupe practicing in a parking lot.

MORRIS DANCING. It’s traditional English farm dancing, as demonstrated by this jovial morris dancing troupe practicing in a parking lot in Brattleboro.

It was a bit of a buzzkill getting pulled over, but the nice officer let us off with a warning.

It was a bit of a buzzkill getting pulled over, but the nice officer let us off with a warning.

The Green Mountain State.

The Green Mountain State.

Quechee Gorge - Vermont's answer to the Grand Canyon. Very weak answer.

Quechee Gorge – Vermont’s answer to the Grand Canyon. Very weak answer.

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