A Simple Running Log

October 31, 2016

New England road trip

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 1:21 pm

Happy Halloween! I hope you like pictures, because I took a ton over our weeklong, 1,700-mile drive through New England.

Last Sunday, I did an easy lap around the 5.5-mile loop, and then Clark and I loaded up the Focus and hit the road.

Since neither of us had ever taken the Cape May-Lewes Ferry, we went that way to start our trip.


Last time we’d see Delaware for a while.


Looking ahead to New Jersey.

Our first stop once we got off the ferry was the Cape May Brewing Co. We got there just in time for one beer before they closed.


We drove through Wildwood’s “doo-wop” motel district, but most of the neon lights were shut down for the season. The Wawa was still open though:


I didn’t take this; it was stolen from Pinterest.

We drove along the coastline of New Jersey, around the outskirts of New York City and stopped for the night in Massapequa Park on Long Island.

Of course we couldn’t go to bed yet. The bars were still open for another two hours haha. Clark found one nearby. It was also close to Clark Boulevard:


We had one beer there and went back to the hotel.

The next morning, I went for a run around Massapequa Park while Clark did some stuff for work. I wound up running six miles through some little neighborhoods and parks.


South Oyster Bay


The complement to Clark Boulevard.

We were right next to Amityville, so we found 112 Ocean Avenue, the house in “The Amityville Horror.” It’s been remodeled to the point it’s pretty much unrecognizable, so I didn’t bother taking a picture. I’m sure that’s why it was remodeled.

The next leg of our trip took us to the end of Long Island. We stopped in Westhampton Beach along the way to see the house Clark’s great aunt used to own. He went there once with his family, when he was 12. He said it’d also been remodeled since he’d been there.

Clark’s great aunt was Jean Patchett, one of the biggest fashion models in the 1940s and ’50s. She was born in Preston in 1926, went to New York City in 1948 and signed with the Ford Model Agency. She was on 40 magazine covers, including Vogue, before she retired in 1963.

We got back on the road. As we were driving along, we noticed there are a ton of wineries on eastern Long Island. So we stopped at one for a tasting and a charcuterie board.


Sannino Vineyard in Peconic, N.Y.

We made it to Orient Point and took the Cross Sound Ferry to New London, Conn.


Leaving Long Island.


Arriving in New London.

As soon as we got off the ferry, we drove to nearby Mystic. We tried to get something to eat at S&P Oyster House, but they completely ignored us after we were seated. It was so weird; the place was pretty empty, but no one even came by to take our drink order. So we left and went to Mystic Pizza instead, the restaurant that inspired the 1988 movie starring Julia Roberts.



The service was quick and the food was good too.

We walked through downtown Mystic a bit. There’s a really cool bascule bridge:


It was built in 1922. It lifts up the entire roadway in one complete section, instead of in two smaller sections like a drawbridge. Those counterweights dangling over the road are enormous!

We got back on the road and drove into Rhode Island. We drove through Westerly and saw Taylor Swift’s gigantic estate right on the ocean. Hers was definitely the biggest house, but all the houses in that area were gorgeous.

Our next stop was Cranston, R.I. It’s Fraida Felcher’s hometown! (If you haven’t watched “Dumb and Dumber” as many times as we have, that probably won’t mean anything to you.)


Finally, we stopped for the night in Warwick, R.I. We had a pretty good dinner at Legal Sea Foods and hit the hay.

Tuesday morning, Clark and I went for a run together through all the road work in Warwick. Not the most scenic route! But we ran another six miles.

Back on the road! We went through Providence and stopped in New Bedford, Mass., a huge seaport. In the 19th century, it was one of the most important whaling ports in the world.

We had lunch at The Black Whale.


Local raw oysters.




Commercial fishing boats right outside the restaurant.

Then we drove along the coast to Falmouth, where we took yet another ferry to Martha’s Vineyard.


Clark on the ferry.


Vineyard Haven harbor.

We took a taxi to Oak Bluffs. There’s a historic carousel Clark remembered riding when he was a kid, but it was closed for the season. So we walked around a bit. I really liked this house:


We had some beers at Offshore Ale Co., where we heard some guys talking about finding bottles of wine worth $35,000 each in the cellar of an old house they were renovating. We took another taxi back to Vineyard Haven, and had just enough time before the next ferry to have a beer and a mug of quahog (clam) chowder at the Black Dog Tavern.


Once we got back to the mainland, we drove up to Boston. We stopped first in Quincy, home of the ORIGINAL DUNKIN’ DONUTS!



So cool! I got a pumpkin macchiato and a Boston Creme.

Then we drove to our hotel, a Holiday Inn in Somerville — not even IN Boston — that, no joke, wound up costing more than half a mortgage payment for one freaking night! This was the only time our total lack of planning for this trip bit us in the ass like that, but damn. It was a big bite!

We had dinner and a couple beers at a place called Lord Hobo, and then more beers and another charcuterie board at Deep Ellum.

Wednesday morning, I ran through Cambridge, to Harvard’s campus. Now I can say I’ve been to Harvard haha.

I found the statue of founder John Harvard as a tour guide was telling the group it’s a tradition for students to rub the statue’s left foot for good luck, which is why it’s so shiny compared to the rest of the statue.


Well, I hate to break it to you Harvard, but Maryland students do the same thing to the noses of the Testudo statues around campus there, so you’re not that special!

On the way back to the hotel, I found a place apparently specializing in fresh-killed poultry:


I wound up running five miles. We walked into Boston later that morning, first through the Beacon Hill neighborhood, which was so pretty:


We had lunch at what was first called the Bull and Finch Pub, but is now known as Cheers, because it was the inspiration for the TV show.


When you go in, you can either sit at the original bar or a separate one that looks like the TV set.

We walked through the Public Garden, a huge park in the middle of the city.


George Washington monument.

And then I had to find this landmark on Boylston Street:


Boston Marathon finish line!

Then we walked to the harbor, where we saw the tea party being re-enacted:


And I found my tea room that I didn’t even know I had:


Our last stop in Boston was Trillium Brewing, but it was retail only. So we went next door to Row 34, which had a pretty good selection of beers on tap.

We took an Uber back to the hotel and got back on the road. It was a quick drive to one of the spots I was most looking forward to seeing on this vacation — Salem, site of the infamous witch trials in 1692.

Earlier this year, historians pinpointed the exact location of the real Gallows Hill, where 19 “witches” were hanged.

Then it was called Proctor’s Ledge. Now it’s between a Walgreen’s and a residential neighborhood.


Clark standing on Gallows Hill.

The town plans to put a memorial there, but right now there’s nothing officially marking it as the site of the hangings. Someone did put what I assumed was a makeshift memorial there though.


Imagine if you lived in one of those houses and then those historians announced oh by the way, a bunch of people were killed right there in the woods!

The only other site in Salem directly connected to the trials is the Witch House, which at the time was the home of the judge who presided over the trials.


There’s plenty of other touristy things to do related to the witch trials — museums, tours and a live action play based on it — but I really only wanted to see the hill and this house.

We got back on the road and headed up to Portland, Maine. That required passing through the southeast corner of New Hampshire, so since we were there, we stopped at Smuttynose Brewing in Hampton for a few samples. 


The brewery.


Clark after too many beers haha.

We also stopped at Whym Craft Beer Cafe in Portsmouth, N.H. There is a ridiculous number of breweries in New Hampshire!

Then we drove to Portland. We stayed outside the city, so we took an Uber into the downtown area.

There’s one thing you have to eat in Maine — a whole steamed lobster. We got ours at J’s Oyster on the pier.


With an Allagash White, also brewed in Portland.

It was so good! Those things are so much easier to break into than blue crabs too. I also loved those steamed clams.

After dinner, we walked to Novare Res, in a little alley, which had another very impressive beer list. Another Uber ride later, we were back at the hotel.

Thursday morning, I didn’t feel like running. Our hotel was near a mall, not really a good running spot anyway. Clark wanted to find somewhere to go surfing that afternoon (we’d stopped in Fenwick on our way out of Delaware to get his short board and wetsuit), so I put on running clothes, planning to run a few miles while he was surfing.

Before we left the Portland area, we stopped at Len Libby Candies in Scarborough to see Lenny, the world’s only life-size chocolate moose.


Lenny was made out of milk chocolate 19 years ago. They later made the bear and her two cubs out of dark chocolate.

I got some fudge, and then we headed up the coast of Maine to one of our must-see spots on this trip.

We went to Southport, Maine, and found Dogfish Head Road.


The founder of Dogfish Head used to come to this area for vacation with his family, and named the brewery after this road. Notice Clark is wearing his Dogfish Head hat.

Next stop was Popham Beach State Park in Phippsburg, to try to find some waves for Clark. Well, that was a bust! It was dead calm there. But the beach was pretty, so we did some exploring.


Looking out to sea from the beach.


Looking back toward the beach from that large rock formation on the right in the picture above this one.


If you look closely, you can see Clark walking across the rock.


I was surprised to find this marker on top of the rock.


Random driftwood teepee.

Since Clark wasn’t surfing, I didn’t feel like making him wait around while I ran. I was starving anyway. So we went to Topsham for lunch at Sea Dog Brewing. It’s located in an old mill on the Androscoggin River.



I had a lobster roll there that was incredible.

Our next stop was Littleton, N.H., which is near the state’s western edge, close to Vermont. The rest of our afternoon and evening was spent driving there.

A storm moved in while we were driving through New Hampshire. First it was just rain. Then the GPS led us through White Mountain National Forest, and things got pretty hairy.

As we drove up the mountain, the rain turned to a frozen mix and then to straight up snow. We just kept going higher. Soon the snow had already accumulated enough you couldn’t even see the lines on the road.

Maybe this wouldn’t have been so bad, but I was driving a Focus ST with freaking summer tires. This car was not made for snow!

Oh, and we had zero cell service up there, so if something happened, we were screwed.

We finally reached the highest point of the highway. Then we started going down — at a 9 percent grade! This side of the highway also had a hairpin curve with a 20 mph speed limit in good conditions. Not to mention all the “moose crossing” signs.

I had a death grip on the steering wheel as we crept down that damn mountain. I was having flashbacks to the time I tried to drive home from South Carolina in a bad blizzard and drove right off the side of 95 because of the whiteout. But in that case, I just wound up on the grassy median, I called the local police and a tow truck had me on my way again in 10 minutes. If I went off the side of the road here, we’d be hurtling down the side of a mountain, and we’d have no way to contact anyone when we landed!

Finally, the snow lightened up and then turned back to rain, and we were through it. In more than 20 miles through that national forest, I think we saw four other cars. Thanks for the stellar directions, GPS!

It was a short drive up another highway to Littleton, and we got checked into our hotel. Then we went to Schilling Brewing for dinner, including another delightful charcuterie board. Seriously, if you like cured meats and fresh cheeses, New England is your spot.


Friday morning, I ran five miles — on the hotel’s treadmill. It was rainy and gross outside, and the hotel was near a highway, not the best place to run anyway. The treadmill sucked as bad as I remembered, but it was better than nothing.

We left Littleton and crossed into Vermont. Our next stop was probably the main point of the whole trip.

Hill Farmstead Brewery in Greensboro has been named the best craft brewery in the world the last three years running, but the beer is very hard to get a hold of! We saw a couple on tap several places in Vermont, but other than that, you pretty much have to go straight to the source if you want it.

The source, however, is on a farm located on a dirt road up the side of a mountain in a very rural area not far from the Canadian border, and it’s only open to the public five hours a day, Wednesday through Saturday.

After our harrowing drive through the woods the night before, the drive to Hill Farmstead in the daylight really wasn’t as bad as I’d feared. It was still raining, but at least it wasn’t snowing, and I could see the road.

We also saw this place on the way there, and thought it’d be a great name for my Uncle John’s barn, which is full of everything he’s ever owned because he never gets rid of anything:


We got to the brewery about a half hour before it opened, and we weren’t even the first ones there. We parked next to a car from Quebec.



The owner still lives in his family’s farmhouse on the left. The brewery is on the right.


Across the road.

More people started arriving, so the owner came out and said he’d go ahead and open a little early. And we were THERE. We made it!



I don’t know what to tell you. It is VERY good beer. It’s extremely well-balanced, with complex flavors, and it just goes down so smooth.

It’s a two-beer limit there, which makes sense. There’s absolutely nothing nearby, so they know your drunk ass would be driving, not stumbling to a hotel room.

We bought a bunch of bottles and then got six growlers filled. I thought we’d look weird, walking in with our arms full of growlers like that, but everyone else was doing the same thing. It gets so busy in there as people get multiple growlers filled, they use the take-a-number system, like at a deli, to keep it in order.

While we were getting our growlers filled, the bartender let us order another drink, so we split a bottle.


Once the growlers were filled, we loaded them back into the Focus.


Headed for Delaware!

And that was Hill Farmstead Brewery. Definitely worth the drive!

We left Greensboro and headed south toward Montpelier, where we were staying that night. On the way, we stopped at Alchemist, another brewery, in Stowe. We just had a few samples there. On the wall was the best argument for farmers I’ve seen yet:


We drove right by the Ben & Jerry’s factory in Waterbury, so we stopped in there for some ice cream. We also had lunch at the Blackback Pub nearby.

We got to Montpelier, checked into our room in a cute little inn in a house, took a nap and then went to the Three Penny Tavern for dinner, another craft beer place, and proud of it:


After we left there, we found the state house, which was supposed to be lit up, but I guess it’d gotten late, because all the lights were off. Fun fact: Montpelier is the least-populated state capital in the U.S. It’s a very small town.

Saturday morning, the inn served a very nice continental breakfast. I was going to go for a short run before we left, but it was absolutely pouring and barely above freezing. I hadn’t brought proper running clothes for those conditions, so I skipped it.

We started driving south. It rained pretty much all the way through Vermont. When we got into Massachusetts, it finally started to let up. By the time we stopped for lunch in Connecticut, the skies were clear and it almost 60 degrees outside.

After lunch at Smash Burger, we drove to the next place I really wanted to see on our trip — Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.

We got there about an hour and a half before it closed. Turned out the Saturday before Halloween was a very popular day to visit that cemetery. There was a festival being held on the grounds of the adjacent Old Dutch Church, the site where, according to “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” the headless horseman began his ride every night.


The Old Dutch Church.

old dutch church sign.JPG

Historical marker outside the church.


Cemetery behind the church.


Gravesite of Washington Irving, who wrote “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” in 1820.

Also in the graveyard that day was the headless horseman himself, and his very patient horse, who didn’t mind the never ending stream of people taking their picture with him, myself included.


Then we walked over to the bridge on the other side of Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, the goal if the headless horseman is chasing you, because this is where he disappears.


Anyway, it’s a huge cemetery, and very pretty.



Andrew Carnegie’s gravestone.

We happened to be trying to leave Sleepy Hollow and nearby Tarrytown as they were getting ready to start a Halloween parade. It took forever.

Next stop was Brooklyn, where we were spending our final night of our road trip. After we got checked in, Clark wanted to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.


Manhattan from the Brooklyn Bridge.

We took an Uber back to a different part of Brooklyn. First we had a couple of beers at a place called Torst, which is the Danish word for “thirst,” and then we had dinner at 21 Greenpoint, a little restaurant run by Homer Murray, one of Bill Murray’s kids. Apparently sometimes Bill will show up to guest bartend, but the night we were there was not one of those nights.

No matter though. The food there is excellent. For me, the highlight was the steak tartare. I love raw steak! We also had fried trout and salmon pastrami, and warm brie for dessert. (I ate a TON of cheese on this trip!)

We stopped at Torst again for another beer, got another Uber and called it a night.

Sunday morning, I guess I could’ve run through Brooklyn, but I didn’t feel like dealing with all those… people. I went to the hotel’s fitness room and ran three boring miles on a treadmill.

The drive home was fine. When we unloaded the car, we found there’d been one casualty — one of the growlers had exploded, emptying half a gallon of beer into the floor mat! We thought it’d smelled faintly of beer in the car when we got back in it Sunday morning. That’s why! Other than that though, everything made it home in one piece.

We took my car to Clark’s parents’ house to pick up Pepper, who seemed just as excited to see us as we were to see him.

It felt so good to be home!


Even if Jimmie stupid Johnson had to go and win the race, guaranteeing his spot in the championship round in Miami.

Dave came over last night and helped us put quite a dent on the growlers that had made it home in one piece. Out of the six we got filled, there was the one that exploded, and Clark took another one to one of his coworkers today, so that left four for us. All that’s left is part of the fourth haha. But we still have plenty of bottles, which don’t have to be drank quickly like the growlers.

And that was our trip! It was a lot of fun. I drank a ton of good beer, I ate a lot of good food and I saw six new states: Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. I’ve now been to 31 states total.

Today is the last day of October, which means it’s time to sum up the month, but I don’t feel like doing that right now. I haven’t run yet today, so the total’s not set in stone yet anyway. Maybe I’ll post again later, or just wait until tomorrow.


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