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Northeast US


Rhode Island

This was our first time to Rhode Island (knocking another state off the list!)

We left East Stoneham, Maine on October 4th and went south through New Hampshire and Massachusetts (around Boston) to Providence. It was drizzly day so good for driving but not so well for site seeing.

The rain stopped as we got closer and we managed to find a street parking spot downtown (not an easy feat in our rig) and began walking. Of course, the drizzle had to begin again once we were far enough from Tigger to consider getting umbrellas. We walked past The Arcade, the first mall in the country built in 1828. It has been preserved nicely and still has retail shops on the main floor. We tried to wander through Brown University but although we found many buildings and “halls” no main entrance per se. It was raining harder and on and off during this time. We stopped at Prospect Park for a view of the city (kind of dreary looking in this weather) and saw the RI State House which has the fourth largest dome in the world, modelled after St. Peter’s in Rome.

We found our way into one of the many, many Dunkin’ Donuts to get some hot chocolate and warm up a bit. It is very damp/humid here year around we learned. Then after asking several “locals” we found an Irish Pub to have a few drinks and some dinner while watching a hockey game. We walked back to Tigger and spent the night where we were parked. It was a tad noisy at first, then quieted down.

We learned we had a hole in our tailpipe as well as a crack so Doug did some exhaust tape repairs hoping both would hold for a while. Sunday we drove to Bristol, RI where we walked around Colt State Park on Naggansett Bay in the glorious sunshine. It was quite invigorating in the cool wind but certainly not unpleasant. The highway went through many small towns and the fall colours are beginning in this area too, making for a pretty drive. A little further south we stopped in Newport and walked along Easton’s Beach and the Cliff Walk which passes many mansions including the Vanderbilt Family’s “The Breakers” built in 1895. It was a very enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours. The streets are narrow and the houses are big, with lots of huge old trees and rock wall fences.

Connecticut (also our first time here)

We followed the coastline and stopped in Stonington and walked out to the lighthouse point in hopes of seeing Montauk, Long Island but it was a bit hazy in the distance. We’d see RI from Montauk a couple of years ago but no luck with the vice versa this time. We found a spot on a residential street and spent the night.

It was sunny again on Monday and we drove onward stopping in Mystic where we walked along the maritime museum area and saw many 1900’s ships and homes dating back into the 1700’s; lots of history on this coast.

We drove on inland stopping just outside Hartford where we strolled among the historic downtown area. In Hartford we were having the new tie rod put on Tigger. Before our appointment in the afternoon, we visited Mark Twain’s home which is right beside Harriett Beecher Stowe’s (something in the water here maybe?) and just a bit further down the street was St. Joseph’s cathedral which has beautiful stained glass windows covering both sides and a beautiful ceiling of stars.

We got to New Haven midafternoon, got some banking done and then wandered the campus of Yale U which has so many beautiful halls, libraries and other buildings. We managed to make it into the Beineke Rare Book & Manuscript Library about 15 minutes before closing and were in awe of the collection of old, old books – some dating back as far 421 AD! The collection also includes an original Gutenberg bible and a huge book of Audubon drawings.

Being in New Haven, we learned we must experience their “apizza” (artisan pizza) – and we did. We tried to go the top locals’ spot but it is closed on Mondays so we went next door and yes, the “apizza” was excellent – reminded us big time of the wonderful pizzas we enjoyed in Italy; (Cynthia and Christine –you’ll understand) with thin crust, great fresh ingredients and tasty cheeses.

After a lazy start to the morning, we got a ‘change oil’ symbol so we took care of that in Bridgeport where we also got Tigger washed and waxed and discovered we had lost the end of our tailpipe! After looking on the internet Fran found a place that seem to be in a bit of a seedy end of town but the price was right and they took us right away and we left with a shiny new chrome tailpipe.

We drove the slow albeit scenic US Route 1 from here through Fairfield where we found a street that has four homes dating back to the 1770’s that the British did not burn. Next the road took us through Stamford and Greenwich; the latter being a bedroom community of New York. We actually met a fellow in Bridgeport who commutes 55 miles one way to Brooklyn to work everyday. Then it was through the Bronx in New York State and across the George Washington Bridge into New Jersey. We arrived at our friends, Ryan & Vicki’s in the early evening where we parked in front of their house for two nights.

New York

Wednesday, we took the train into Manhattan where the weather was perfect: sunny and warm. We met a former colleague of Doug’s for lunch on the west side after walking to Chelsea to enjoy High Line Park (a converted rail line green space), NYC City Hall (longest continuously used city hall in the country), tried to see the Forbes Collection on Fifth Avenue but it was closed for a private event, then walked 50 blocks to meet Johan. After lunch we took the subway to the north end of Central Park, walked across to Riverside Park and checked out Columbia University’s campus which is quite pretty and self-contained. We jumped back on the subway to Times Square before taking the train from Penn Station back to Edison, NJ. We walked 16 miles today! That evening we enjoyed a home cooked meal before going out to an Irish pub for drinks with Ryan & Vicki.

New Jersey

Thursday we got a few things done on the RV (hopefully fixed a ceiling leak in the bathroom) and took our time heading east. Our friend Vicki, is an extreme couponer and gave us bottles of shampoo/conditioner, razors and discounts on gas such that we paid $14.21 for 18 gallons! She often MAKES money using coupons.

We stopped in Princeton to check out the campus there. It was very beautiful with wonderful stone buildings; nicest ivy league campus we’ve seen. Town is quaint and peaceful.

We are flying out of Philadelphia airport on Sunday the 12th to Seattle to spend three weeks back in Victoria/Vancouver.

We found a parking website that will allow us to park for three weeks at a hotel near the airport for $135 and it happens to be of the chain that Doug has a loyalty program for so we will stay there the night before and the night we return.

Fran’s mom is having her second cataract surgery so she will stay with her before and after and we’ll fit in visits with other friends and family both on and off the island. Serena will be arriving in Seattle the same morning as we do from Anchorage (her summer contract is over) and we will meet her and drive her to Montana for her next job back at Big Sky like last winter.