Bits of Advice When On A Roadtrip- East Coast Edition

After a long nights drive Road tripping is different for everyone, I get that.  Some people like to plan things out from top to botton, lunches-bathroom breaks-gas stops-whathaveyous and some people just get in the car and go. Theres the people who need to have a pre approved and vetted playlist at the ready, and then theres the people who switch on the radio and just pick a station to listen to. Some people don’t even listen to music (audio books, news, russian dissertations on eroding social classes, ect ). But when you’re taking a roadtrip, no matter what size, to places you’ve never been to before, there’s a number of general rules/niceties that can apply to everyone. Especially if you’re going with someone you’ve never traveled with before, or this is your first roadtrip.

Sea Scape Motel and CottagesCozy Kitchen place

Always book in advance if you’re going to be making more than 2 hours drive to the destination of the night. It’s always great to have things booked when you set off, instead of trying to do it on the way, or heavens, in the car itself. I know, I know, wheres the adventure, the spontaneity! Mate, that feeling of epic adventure will fade when your dead on your feet and trying to navigate the insanity that is foggy weather or crowded roads that cows frequent.

Pack your essentials! the tired travelers last minute meal

Pack your essentials in plastic ziplock bags (this goes for both guys and gals btw) or travel bags if you’re fancy like that, especially if you’re traveling with someone else and you’ll be sharing a room with one bathroom. Don’t be that person who takes up all the counter space with their grooming stuff. Both me and Kat were excellent at this and it’s one of the reason we traveled so well together. Secondly, no matter how hard you try, you’re not always going to be able to eat healthy or even eat what is considered real food. It’s a road trip, these things happen. Don’t stress about it, feed yourself with what you can and make up for it later by not getting that extra helping of fries at that one greasy spoon diner…. though really, who am I kidding, I always get that extra helping. Friiiies. Keep hydrated always though, don’t just live off coffee.
Our home away from Home in Maine Sally and the cottage Two little chairs side by side little cottages in Maine

When you can, and usually you can, try to pick places to stay that are run by locals. Not only are they at times less expensive than chains, they are usually brimming with charm, unique touches here and there, and even if the owner gets a bit peeved at you for arriving almost at closing time because you got lost in the fog and ended up in some weird island thing in the middle of the bay, they’re usually fantastic for tips about the area. We stayed at Seascape Motel and Cottages in Belfast when we went to Maine, and it was hands down the best place we stayed at during the whole trip, even including our fantastic boutique hotel in NYC.  We got a huge cottage to ourselves, with it’s own little parking spot, cozy kitchen, and you can bet we’re going to go back one day and spend a whole week there.
Kat working on her fantastic travel journal Morning light in MaineTis green here in Maine Stay up late, wake up early. Or, stay up as late as you need to, to update blogs and friends, write in your journal about the epic things you did, and try and wake up as early as you can manage. A normal sleeping schedule is not a thing that happens on roadtrips, sometimes you’ll get a great nights rest and others you’ll be running on coffee fumes. Let it happen, don’t get worked up about not getting enough sleep, you can get rest when you’re back home, for now just enjoy your time on the road yeah? Learn to be at least a little bit of a morning person, even before coffee.

Also, don’t unpack ALL your bags when you settle in for the night, even if you’re going to be staying for a few days. You don’t need everything you packed every day, do you? Re-packing is a time stealer, pack efficiently with the clothes you’ll need  to change the most (like underwear, sleepwear, shirts) in one bag, and the other clothes (like trousers, jeans, skirts and dresses) in the one with the rest of your things.
Kat and SallyAnd the last bit of advice? If you’re going to travel with someone, make sure it’s someone who is super awesome, wants to see and experience around the same things you do, doesn’t mind that you want to photograph literally everything, christens your rental car Sally and in general is an amazing human being that you can be around 24 hours a day with, in an enclosed space for long periods of time, because in the end, your journey is more than half of the experience, not the destination.

~m

 

Fantastic Pizza and the Bluest Ocean- Gloucester, MA

Coastline views in Gloucester I’ve finally gotten around to editing and going through my photos of the rest of the May trip I took with my (fantastic super awesome) friend Kat, or at least the ones taken after we left New York, headed towards Boston and after that, everywhere. (Really, our trip took us through Maine- New Hampshire- Vermont- Connecticut – Rhode Island and back to Boston for the final 2 days )Good God, Sally We made it into Boston early in the morning after leaving on a bus from Port Authority, and headed into the center of Boston to pick up the rental car, which…. ended up being MUCH different than what we were expecting. I don’t know if things are just wildly different in Massachusetts where a Ford Mustang is considered a regular kind of car, but as someone who has never driven that kind of beauty before, you can be assured it made the next 5 days a very interesting experience…. especially considering all the out of the way spots we visited, not to mention taking this beast up into the mountains. But thats for later! Poseidons Pizza Poseidons Pizza in Gloucester MA Poseidons Pizza Pepperoni and Mushroom pizza in Gloucester Close up Our first stop after leaving Boston (can I just say, what the fudge, seriously….even when trying to leave Boston the traffic was just insanity. As much as I adore Boston….no. Just no.)  was somewhere that looked interesting when viewed on the map, Gloucester. Situated in the north part of the Massachusetts coastline, it was the perfect stop before diving into the 2 hour drive to our stay for the night, Belfast Maine. The first thing we did after parking in Stage Fort Park, near their visitors center, was go find food. And while I can’t say we looked far and wide for places to eat at, I will say that stumbling into a pizza place called Poseidon’s, from it’s chill atmosphere, down to earth service and freakin’ amazing food, it was perfection. After that me and Kat enjoyed a walk along the coast back towards the park, marveling at the incredible blue skies.Gloucester MA ocean views a lovely time in Massachusetts In Goucester MA quiet town, Gloucester Coastline views in Gloucester

Back at Stage Fort park we peeked in at the visitors center (which was unfortunately already closed, ah well ) and just enjoyed the smell of ocean with the feel of warm sun on our skins.  Stage Fort Park in MA City of Gloucester Visitors Center Exploring in Gloucester MADefinitely a great place to stop for rest, food and coffee (we ended up at a Dunkin Donuts….which would kinda prove a trend for the rest of the trip actually) and it was the perfect jumping off point for the rest off our days on the road.

~m

Northern Texas, Gettin’ Lost in the Suburban Fields

driving in the sun Currently, I live in Northern Texas, in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. If you know anything about this area, you know how vague that description is, given the immense size and scope contained in this corner of Texas…so I guess i’ll narrow it down a little more and say I live 5 minuets away from the center of Plano, and about 15 (given liberal use of the DNT) from downtown Dallas. The nicest of suburbias encroach from the North, while established business districts build up from the East, and everywhere else is just fields, fields and more fields. And in many ways, I love it like that.Texas highways and clouds A suburban texas skyline northern texas fields

I see horses running free most days on the way to and from my day job, watch them idly staring at the cars that pass by before heading back into the untamed green acres that they call home. Wild rabbits scamper and hide underneath parked cars instead of stray cats, and owls always hoot in the evening times. In the dark of night, there are long stretches of roads where the only illumination comes from the headlights of my car and if luck holds, the moon above. This isn’t the boonies though, Targets and Walmart’s abound, as well as numerous shopping malls but the expanse of land that Texas claims as it’s state territory, it creates these enormous gaps between structures, between cities and towns that can float a sense of being nowhere established when you’re out and about. Especially when you are not a native.

Hay bales, northern texas northern texas fields north texas fields Texas mini roadtrip

Driving around is the best way to explore these parts of Texas, and while I will be the first to say that i’m not any kind of expert on the nature of this state or it’s numerous areas, after living here for a couple of years, there’s a few things i’ve come to understand, accept, and even hold as dear. Like the way driving anytime after 2am (whether it’s on the highways towards Dallas or on the residential streets in quiet Rowlett) means you’ll be mostly all by yourself, in the best of ways. Or opposite that, no matter how bad rush hour is, there is usually a backroad that you can take that will eventually get you where you want to go.

My most favorite thing though, is the simple fact that no matter what part of this area you find yourself in, on any particular day with a clear sunset, everything is illuminated and cast into a light that makes everything beautiful.

~m
(I’m hoping of making this into a series of posts exploring more of this area of Texas….but we’ll see how that goes yeah? )

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NYC Outtakes- Random Photos and Advice for Visiting NYC

View from Hotel BPM in my drawer Out In Brooklyn messy hotel roomthe bed at hotel BPM

Pick a good place as your home base. Know the area you’re staying in and most importantly, don’t be afraid to stay outside of Manhattan. Me and Kat stayed at Hotel BPM, which is in Brooklyn. We got a fantastic room at a really great price through a flash sale they were doing, and with a bit of quick googling I saw there was a subway station a block away, perfect for getting into Manhattan in less than 15 minuets. There’s plenty of overpriced and seriously tiny hotels in Manhattan, as well as everywhere else, find the right one for you, and make it your insta-home. As long as you know how to get to where you want to go from where you’re at, and you can at least blend a little with the locals, you’ll be fine. Eyes open and easy smiles go a long way.

Bryant Park Views Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset

Visit Bryant Park. Just do it, even if it’s just for a couple of minutes. You’ll end up in the middle of almost everything you could want to visit and surrounded by mostly native New Yorkers reading the paper, chatting with friends and you’ll realize that this is a place millions of people call home and to treat it accordingly. Understand that “NYC” encompasses the boroughs of the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island (as much as they might want to deny that) besides just the glitter of Manhattan, and get an idea of the immensity bred here. There is so much history, pride and love here, you’ll enjoy your time better once you feel that.
Kat looking out over Central ParkCentral park outtakes Processed with VSCOcam with f1 preset near Columbus Circle, outside of Central Park

Take your time in Central Park, if thats the kind of thing you like. Probably it is the kind of thing you’ll like, if you’re even a little alive inside. This place is HUGE, seriously, just ever so huge and you probably won’t have enough time to spend exploring it all, but just enjoy the time you spend there and relish the beauty and calmness that is cultivated here. Also, take a photo of that damn Balto statue that took you and your friend over an hour to find even though you were pretty much on top of it half the time. Watch out for joggers and skateborders, smile to the beverage cart vendors.

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Know how to use the subway system. Seriously gods, this is so useful. Even if you can afford to take a cab everywhere, just don’t. You’ll be stuck in traffic more often than not, and apart from taking one to and from the airport, they really won’t get you there faster or more efficiently than using the subway. Get an app, use the handy maps at pretty much every station, get one from a station worker. Get comfy with getting on and off trains, listening for your stop (or counting the stops if you can’t hear or see ’cause the car you’re in is insanely packed). Put more money on your MetroCard than you think you’ll need, chances are you’ll miss a stop or get on an express train or the stars will align just right and you’ll end up halfway to the Bronx when you were aiming for the Met. And just consider it a given that you’re going to eventually come across a slightly mentally disturbed person on at least one of your rides, and basically, just be polite if you’re pushed into a conversation and consider it a rite of passage here.

Museum of Natural History Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f3 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 preset

Go where you want to go. Seriously, visiting NYC can be so expensive, if you don’t make the most of the time you have here, you’re going to regret it like nothing else. So. Go to the museum you want to visit, and take terrible photos to send to friends! Go to the Disney store that smack dab right in the middle of  Times Square to get your boyfriend that Star Wars t-shirt you’ll know they’ll love, even though there seems to be thousands of people already in there. Just, if it’s what you want to do, do it. Wander around Chinatown, a little lost and out of place, enjoy the disorientation.  Explore, walk around and just enjoy the time you have here, if you’re not a native, you don’t have an excuse for not making the most of everyday here.

Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset egg rolls, NYC pizza with peppers wtf pizza on the upper west side Chinatown dinner

Eat at that dingy corner fast Chinese food place with the oddly dirty floor, I promise the egg rolls there will be delicious, they’re friend to an inch within their life so you’ll be fine, plus the elderly couple most likely working there will be really nice, probably, and give you two free ones.  Pop into that really fancy and slightly loud restaurant that smells so good walking past it when you’re on the Upper West Side, as long as the menu isn’t dusted in gold, you can probably afford it, just check the menu posted outside if you want to make sure. The service won’t be the best, they’re rushed and it’s a busy night, but the food, no matter what you get, will be excellent, and you’ll enjoy the time you spend there. When you go to China town, because you heard they have great food there, you probably won’t know where to eat, everywhere will look good. So just pick one. Pick the one that shines the brightest and has happy looking people inside. Pick the one that goes down narrow stairs and you can smell something delicious wafting up. Just pick and sit down, smile and laugh with your server and let them give you a fork and spoon with your chopsticks, it doesn’t matter if you DO know how to eat with them. Whatever, really. Order a lot and stuff your face, it’ll be worth it.

Duane Reede in manhattan

Duane Reade will have what you need, they are everywhere, and from that emergency umbrella that you drop in to buy when the skies open up to drown you a little, to the sunscreen moisturizer you come to see as miraculous on overly sunny days, they really will most likely have what you need. If not, there are an insane amount of random specialty shops all over Manhattan, just a simple walk down any street will have you finding that thing you really needed but forgot to bring. Also, buy souvenirs. Yes, for at least 15 minutes of your trip, be a total and unabashed tourist. Buy tons more postcards than you think you really need, and at least a couple of nice keychains. Don’t be the person who visits NYC and doesn’t bring back nifty souvenirs for their friends and family, even if they didn’t ask, they’re expecting it and really, postcards are so inexpensive compared to the slight guilt trip you’ll avoid with them. Also come on, you want a fridge magnet, just admit it.

battery park quiet

Enjoy the time you have here. I know I said that already but, it needs repeating. I was born, grew up here, and yet I cherish the days I get to visit this grand city. It is unlike any other, and from the crowded streets to the places that are almost deserted, you can find yourself both overwhelmed and slightly disappointed when things don’t click like you thought they would, when places you’ve seen so many times on film seem less bright then they were on screen, when you realize you can’t make it to everywhere you want to see in the time you have. NYC is not a perfect place, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. There is so much imperfection here, so many flaws and scars and quietly groaning mistakes…..but that is what makes NYC as a whole, beautiful and amazing and worth the attention. It is most definitely a life changing experience, it’s going to be magnificent and fantastic and worth every minute, and basically you’re going to love it here.

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And finally, before you leave, on the day you leave, take a selfie. Artistically shot, terrible lighting, doesn’t matter. Send it to a friend, share it with everyone on facebook, or just keep it for yourself. You’ll understand after you’re back home, going through your photos of the trip and you finish with the one of your face, bright eyed and slightly exhausted, ready to go home and never wanting to leave this fantastic place.

~m

Scales of the Universe- Museum of Natural History, NYC

These Scales of the UniverseHeilbrunn Cosmic PathwayHayden theater 81st Street ViewScales of the UniverseA Galaxy in Flux

Science is the name of the game here, discovery and wonder as well, but you’d have to be pretty set in your ways not to call this place, especially the Heilbrunn Cosmic Pathway, anything short of deliriously beautiful and slightly magical.

It's magnificent herePlanets in Scale Inside the Museum of Natural History Heilbrunn Cosmic Pathway Photograph these pathways Saturn and Jupiter in ScaleLovely Architecture in the Natural History Museum Take a look up at Saturn Architectural Love in the Natural History Museum

This would be the last part of the Museum of Natural History me and Kat explored before heading out into the rainy weather to inquire about the possibility of food.  And while there are so many parts of the museum I didn’t get to see, I can say with certainty that the places and exhibits I did manage to marvel over, they were amazing and fantastic. And yes, I will totally be back one day, and then probably the next day, and then the day after that. Not only was almost every part of the museum full of mentally stimulating articles of interest, you get the feeling that everyone here, from the visitors to the people working and studying here, they very much want to be here. To the very foundations of the building, there is an intense adoration here. A love for learning, for reaching for more and further frontiers and ultimately for a betterment through discovery.

~m