Disclaimer: Most of what is written below is a word-for-word account from my travel journal written in 2003. I did have to edit some of the content to make my account a little less dull. I also added a few hindsight comments in italics here and there. Some of the pictures included are my own and not the greatest quality (disposable camera, you know 😉 ).
August 6, 2003
I’m in Vermont now.
As morbid as this sounds, I pulled into an old cemetery along the highway to have a look around [Note: I believe this was near St. Alban’s]. It was neat, if that is the right term for it. I even saw the grave of a Revolutionary War veteran! [Note: Why the note of excitement? You must realize that very few Revolutionary War vets ever made it out to Illinois, let alone to die there. As a sheltered history nerd, this was a novelty for me.] …Well, I should probably continue my drive. I’ve got a lot to see before this day is done…
…It’s getting to be about lunch time now. I’m still in Vermont, about 9-10 miles from the New Hampshire border. As I prepare to leave Vermont, my general impression of the state is WOW! The scenery is awesome! I spent the early morning tooling around Lake Champlain.
The sun decided to come out for the first time this trip and it startled me. I figured that rain and/or gray skies were part of the permanent scene of the east coast. I soon overcame my solar shock and began snapping pictures left and right. After Lake Champlain came the Green Mountains…and they were as verdant as advertised!
With the sun out, the mountains were lit up in brilliant, majestic shades of green…There really was no way to truly capture the view on film (although I certainly had a go at it). This was something that had to be enjoyed for the moment, and then left to the storeroom of my memory. Well, I must be off again. New Hampshire and Maine lay in wait for me…
…I must say, today has been a study of contrasts. When last I wrote, I was wistfully contemplating the beauty of Vermont. Since that time, my sojourn has been, to say the least, hair-graying.
New Hampshire breezed along nicely until I made the mistake of stopping in Concord for lunch. I got completely turned around, saw more of the city than I had intended, and then ended up in a traffic jam while the heavens once again opened up over New England. However, there was one notable thing that came out of this mess, and it involved a gas station bathroom.
…After filling the gas tank, I entered the bathroom, I almost fell over. It was the cleanest, nicest-smelling, and most well-decorated gas station bathroom I had ever encountered… It had potted plants, flowers, pictures hung on the wall, the whole bit. Although this scenic wonder doesn’t quite match up with something like Niagara Falls, it comes in a close second [Note: To my everlasting regret, I did not take a picture of the bathroom.].
I took the long way out of New Hampshire in an effort to evade the tolls. The amount of money I’ve spent on tolls is really beginning to take a sizable chunk out of my spending money. Despite this, I’ve been really impressed by how all the eastern states run their toll ways. Unlike Illinois, when you enter onto a toll way, you pick up a ticket from the booth. From there, you can drive unhindered until you exit the toll way and you pay whatever amount you have accumulated. In Illinois, you always have to stop every few miles and fish around for coins [Note: the Illinois Tollway has changed since I wrote this in 2003. We now have open-road tolling. The construction crews I encountered in 2003, however, are still at work to this day. They promise to be finished “any year now.”].
Okay, I’m rambling…The drive up the Maine coastline was great. I really wish I could’ve stopped off at a beach because I had never been to the Atlantic Ocean. I couldn’t stop though. It was getting late and I wanted to go to Brunswick, home of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain and Bowdoin College (I won’t attempt to write a Chamberlain biography here…You’re welcome.)
I swung into town shortly after 4 PM and hoped to go on the tour of Chamberlain’s house, but they closed ten minutes before I arrived (They must have been warned of my approach)…
I didn’t want the trip to be a total waste, so I wandered across the street to the college and snapped a couple pictures of some of the buildings on campus.
…I called it a day and started off for Massachusetts, but not before I was stuck in yet another horrendous traffic jam. At this point, if I could’ve summed up my vacation in two words, those words would be “rain” and “traffic.” Thanks to my shortened stay in Maine, I was able to make it to Boston in time to see the Red Sox game at Fenway, well…only a few innings of it actually. I spent over an hour roaming the streets, desperately looking for the ballpark (Honestly, how do you hide a Major League ballpark?). I came across it quite by accident, and I was in my seat by the beginning of the sixth inning.
The Sox were playing the Angels… [Note: The Red Sox were still curse-ridden mortals in 2003], but was more interested in Fenway itself. Currently, Fenway is the oldest park in existence (Wrigley Field being a close second). Except for the looming “Green Monster” in left field, the park was pretty small. In the lower seats, you feel very close to the players. From where I was seated in the upper deck… it wasn’t that great. Much of my view of the infield was blocked by a metal support beam, and right field was partially obstructed by the foul pole. I stayed only two innings, enough to get a feel for the park, and to hear a wide variety of Boston accents! It was late when I left, and of course the day just wouldn’t have been complete without me getting hopelessly lost again in Boston, then outside of Boston…
…I made it to Milford, MA, located somewhere southwest of Boston…I’m very, very, very tired and sore from the day’s travels. I can’t believe how much happened in one day! I started in upper New York and ended in Massachusetts by way of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. I hope tomorrow will be a little easier on me…