Before we got married, my wife and I visited a friend in the US. We planned the trip online, booking accommodation in two other areas (a small town in Vermont and also in Kennebunkport in Maine) wanting to see as much of New England as we could. Arriving at Heathrow for our flight, we were excited about the trip ahead.
With the twelve hour flight completed, we stepped off the plane and met Judd, our friend, in arrivals. Although we were a little tired, the fact that it was still mid afternoon in Boston and, the aroma of a fresh coffee, imbued us sufficiently with the energy to complete the final stage of our outbound travel.
We said our goodbyes to Judd and set off for our first stop: Kennebunkport, Maine. Although we had chosen to travel at the time of year just prior to the renowned "fall" season of mid September, we were still hopeful we would bear witness to the changing colours and tones in the scenery. We headed up the interstate, leaving the downtown area of Boston. Into the open country of rural Massachusetts; an overwhelming feeling of freedom came over us. We have traveled extensively in the UK by car and the experience wasn't always so enthralling. So it was quite amazing to feel so liberated in the knowledge that we had a 2 hour drive ahead of us.
It's so true, that old cliche - "everything in the states is so big".....it just is; wide open spaces, large portions, tall buildings. Everything is done on a much bigger scale. Despite this, we felt very cosy when we arrived in our bed and breakfast. We would be there for two nights, my recollection is a little hazy on details, but we seemed to get into a state of relaxation extremely quickly.
Maine is situated to the north of Massachusetts and it likewise has a coastline to the east. The wild Atlantic ocean stretching as far as the eye can see. The next landmass being that of home; dear old blighty. We hugged the ocean road for many miles, stopping to brace the wind that came back. Our next stop would be Westwards and to the neighbouring state of Vermont.
Our journey to Vermont was through mile after mile of forested landscape. Pine trees created a blanket of green that contracted with the almost clear blue skies above. Colours so vibrant they could almost have been made by felt tip pen. A Victorian B&B was our staging post here. Its owners had paid remarkable attention to details when furnishing the rooms. Our room had a bed that we almost needed a stepladder to ascend to; an authentic wrought iron roll top bath that stood freely in the middle of the bathroom. We were made to feel right at home by our hosts, receiving close attention as we were the only guests at the time.
Vermont is the birthplace of the now global brand of ice cream, Ben and Jerry’s, and we felt it incumbent of us to pay a visit to the factory where it all began. As children of the 70s, we did kind of feel like we were stepping into the pages of that great Roald Dahl book, "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory"; the rooms were garishly painted; it was a hive of activity and there were lots of opportunities to taste the different flavoured ice creams being produced; Cherry Garcia (named after the grateful dead singer, Gerry) and Phish food (named after the band of the same name).
We returned to Boston, where we stayed in Judd's apartment for another few days, taking the opportunity to visit the JFK memorial library. This has a reconstructed oval office with the desk that was actually in the White House at the time of his presidency, and also a small cutter that the keen sailor had used in his early years before coming to power.
This holiday will always have great memories for us. It was such a different time in our lives - a time that we always look back on with such fondness.
We will return one day, hopefully with the children that now fill our lives so fully.