New England Roadtrip: part 1 (Boston-Hanover-Portland-Bar Harbor-Saint John, Canada)

Hi everyone!

I’m writing this post from the cold but gorgeous Saint John in New Brunswick, Canada. Bertrand and I crossed the border this morning around eleven o’clock and are in Canada until tomorrow. But allow me to give you a quick update on everything we’ve done so far.

On Thursday the 29th of October Bertrand arrived in Boston after a long journey. It was a happy reunion and after making a light midnight meal we crawled into bed tired but very happy. The next day we went to the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard, which is only half an hour walk from my house, and in the afternoon we walked the Freedom Trail. In the evening we went out for dinner with some people from the CELTA course but we went home pretty early ‘cause Bertrand was slightly jetlagged and it takes us a while to get home with public transport… Saturday morning we went to the public market in Roslindale and visited the Sam Adams brewery. After that we had planned to go to the Isabella Gardner museum but in the end I was too tired and the museum is quite expensive. Instead we planned our roadtrip and took a nap. (Worthy alternatives, if you ask me). That night we went out for a romantic dinner and had lobster, really good and pretty cheap. Seeing as it was Halloween that night we were going to watch a scary movie (Primal Fear, with Richard Gear and Edward Norton, I can really recommend it!) but Bertrand was still tired and we had to wake up early the next day, so after ten minutes we went to bed.

For the people without Facebook, here are some pictures:

Arnold Arboretum
Arnold Arboretum
Peters Hill panorama
Peters Hill panorama
Bertrand eating Boston Cream Pie
Bertrand eating Boston Cream Pie

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The next day (first of November) we had to wake up early because I still had to pack all of my things, clean the room, empty the fridge, just gather everything before we started our roadtrip. I had indicated online that we would pick up the rental car at ten AM and calculated that we should’ve been able to leave for Salem by noon. Unfortunately Bertrand and I didn’t know that you need a visa card to rent a car and Prepaid Visa is not the same thing… A couple of phone calls later we were lucky enough that a friend of mine (major shout-out to Kenna Totty, friend for life!) was willing to lend us her credit card. (We only have to pay the rental amount when we bring back the card and that we can do with a prepaid visa so she doesn’t have to pay for anything) and around twelve thirty we were finally able to go home, load everything into the car and by three PM we were finally on our way to Salem. Dusk was already settling in when we arrived in Salem, but we were able to enjoy daylight before we drove to Hanover, ME. Here are some pictures we took in Salem:

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After Salem we went to Hanover, ME. It was getting pretty dark by the time we left Salem and totally dark when we arrived in Hanover. We couchsurfed with Vanessa, Mindy and her boyfriend, all three of them very nice people that gave us good advice on things we could do in the neighborhood. The next morning (Monday November 2nd) we woke up early to quickly drive through the Dartmouth campus and then we were on our way for a good hike in Crawford Notch State Park. We made a quick stop in Bretton Woods ‘cause it was on our way and now we can honestly say we saw the very fancy hotel where IMF came into existence. Yeey!

Bretton Woods hotel
Bretton Woods hotel
Bretton Woods hotel
Bretton Woods hotel

In Crawford Notch State Park we made a gorgeous hike along Arethusa Falls trail and Frankenstein Cliff (not named after the monster but after a painter). It was a 5 mile hike and it took us about three hours, breaks included. Really nice, but the path wasn’t always easy, which was actually pretty nice!

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After our gorgeous visit to the White Mountains we drove to Portland. Unfortunately we couldn’t find a couchsurfing host so we booked a room in a small and charming inn. After a well-deserved shower we made our plans for the next day and had dinner in the Great Lost Bear. It’s an impressive bar with 69 different beers on tap, and the drinks were really great, but the food was typical “American”. I believe the words Bertrand used were: “It tastes like diabetes”.
Normally we were going to kayak in a bioluminescent lake in Bar Harbor the next day, but when I called the organisation they told me it was way to cold to go out on the lake at night and we would never get there by late afternoon so we abandoned that plan fairly quickly. Instead we visited the brewery of Allagash the next day (Tuesday 3rd of November), which is a brewery that was inspired by Belgian beers, so that was definitely worth the visit! Bertrand bought a 75ml bottle of Allagash Interlude, a nice bear we got to try at the tasting! Pretty strong and with its spontaneous fermentation inspired by a beer from Brussels.

Spotted on a barrel in Allagash brewery:
Spotted on a barrel in Allagash brewery: “Friends” in Dutch

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After our visit to this nice brewery in Portland we drove to Bar Harbor by way of Camden. It was a long drive and we were happy to be able to stretch our legs in Camden, a small harbour village in Maine.

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At night we arrived in Bar Harbor and seeing as it was dark (now that winter is coming, it gets dark here at four thirty PM) we drove directly to our couchsurfing host for the night, Preston. Preston is a nice guy that is working for the US Navy as an engineer but moving back to his hometown, Alabama. He’s not sure what he’s gonna do there but seeing he’s an engineer I have no doubt he’ll find a job pretty easily. We cooked, watched TV (Fast and Furious 6) and crawled into bed because it had gotten it into my head that a sunrise seen from Cadillac Mountain would be a nice view. That means that we woke up this morning (Wednesday the 4th of November) at five o’clock to get leave at 5:40 AM for Cadillac Mountain, which was a twenty-minute drive. At six we had found a nice spot by a lake in between to hills and then we played the waiting game. It was very pretty, but unfortunately we didn’t see the sun come up, she was hidden behind the hilltops. 😦  But we did get a nice picture!

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From Bar Harbor we drove non-stop to the Canadian border and once we crossed we made a short stop in Saint George and then we were on our way to Saint John. We arrived around 12:30 PM and had a quick lunch in Tim Horton’s (when in Canada…) After having discovered the city, we went to our host of the night. After saying hi and reorganizing ourselves, we left for Irving Nature Park. It was only a short drive and it’s truly a wonderful park! We made a very nice walk that lasted about 2 hours and then we went back to our host (with the necessary detours because I was reading the map and Bertrand was being the good boyfriend and not arguing 😛 )

Here are some pictures of our walk:

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We spotted a porcupine! He had quite the duck walk!
We spotted a porcupine! He had quite the duck walk!

Okay, that’s it for now, it’s a lot, I know, but we have done and seen so much already in this short time period. We have a busy schedule ahead of us so I’ll try my best to upload some more pictures and stories on the blog.

The family we’re staying with at the moment are a mother and father with three daughters between the ages of 12 and 6 (I guess), so very similar to my sisters and me. It’s pretty interesting to see the dynamics as an outsider.

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