USA

There’s so much to see in the USA, the country is so diverse and each state has its own personality and cultural heritage to explore. We hope to travel through the USA one area at a time over a few separate trips, starting with a three-month trip to the north east of the country in autumn 2015. I’ve long since dreamed of experiencing the spectacular New England fall foliage, so we’re taking an eight-week road trip through New England, as well as visiting New York City, Niagara Falls, Philadelphia and Washington DC. In the summer of 2018, we took another road trip to the USA, this time exploring California and Oregon, a beautiful region that we fell in love with. Check out our USA travel stories here.

Unbelievably, we’ve been in New England for nearly two months now; the time has flown by in a whirl of scenic drives, golden foliage, forest walks and pancake breakfasts. This week finds us in Portland, Maine, facing the tail-end of our journey in this incredible corner of the country. Although we’ll be moving on to other parts of the US in a week or so, my heart still breaks a little at the thought of leaving. With that in mind, here are some of the things we’ve loved about New England.
Vermont is a land of plenty; rolling fields with grazing dairy cows, maple-tree forests, vegetable patches and orchards produce lots of fresh, delicious food. While travelling through the state we sampled so much scrumptious, homemade and grown food; here’s a little taste of what we ate in Vermont.
In Vermont I felt like I was living through one long leafy dream where we drove endlessly down roads carved through forest and the trees around us transformed to shades of copper, bronze and citrus; peach, plum and rust. The days floated by prettily like the leaves fluttering from the trees and I knew that I was living through moments I would crave to have back in the future. In Vermont we’d finally found the autumn we’d been searching for and I didn’t want to leave.
To visit Niagara Falls we took a nine-hour detour from our road trip through New England. During the drive up through New York state I was hopeful, convinced that the falls would stun us and the trip would be worthwhile. While I wasn’t wrong about the majesty of those mighty waterfalls, everything else about our trip to Niagara Falls turned out to be a bit – strange.
Martha’s Vineyard was high on my list of places to visit in New England. I was hoping to experience a small slice of idyllic island life; pretty lighthouses, rugged beaches, sailboats and salty air – and that was pretty much what we got, along with cute gingerbread houses and a stunning sunset.
The night was full of autumn; frosty dark air, the taste of hot apple cider and the smell of wood smoke. Our boat cut a smooth path down the river while the orange heat of bonfires blazing on the water’s surface warmed our noses. I like to think of myself as an expert planner, but sometimes the best travel experiences turn out to be totally unexpected, like the Providence WaterFire Festival.
Have I mentioned yet that we love having a rental car? America is perfect for road trips; the petrol is a crazy $2.20 per gallon and the roads are wide and empty, well, at least compared to the UK. It’s so easy to throw all of our stuff into our red steed, Cherry, and zip from one state to the next; we’ve even grown to love the country music station on the radio. After our week in rugged New Hampshire we fired Cherry up and whizzed down to the coastal state of Connecticut.
After experiencing city life in Boston, we picked up our rental car and headed to New Hampshire, a thick forested state speckled with sparkling lakes and jagged mountains. As we turned off the interstate through woodland roads, a country channel spluttered to life on the radio and we passed a “Guns, Ammo and Knives” store. We shared the roads with trucks carrying timber, 4x4s and the occasional noisy big motorcycles, all bearing the New Hampshire state motto on their registration plates: “Live Free or Die.”
Since we arrived in New York a week ago I’ve lost count of the number of times Andrew and I have said to each other: “This is just so… American!” From the hordes of Red Sox fans in their baseball caps and shirts to the giant pretzels sold on street corners and wooden-clad houses with huge porches and flags flying from the windows, America is just how I imagined it would be.  Somehow it’s oddly satisfying to see many of my expectations about America come to life; perhaps visitors to the UK get the same kind of thrill out of seeing regular British people drinking tea, eating fish and chips and playing football?