Friday, September 24, 2010

No Visit to Roanoke is Complete Without a Side-Trip to New England

Yeah, it's been awhile. Weird, too, because I've had plenty to write about, starting with our big trip to New England, which I built up in my last post two months ago and then left you hanging. Two months ago. Damn.

So we did in fact take our long-planned trip, or as I kept referring to it "Our Vacation to Roanoke" which only happened to include one night in that mid-size Virginia city. Of course I was kidding, because nobody plans an entire vacation around Roanoke (although it does seem like a lovely place to live), but Roanoke had the last laugh, providing me with the most photo-worthy scene of the whole nine-day journey:

It looked like a pretty nice hotel room (by my loose standards) even before I peeked in the bathroom (which I always do before I settle in just to make sure there isn't an organ-harvested body in the bathtub.) Apparently the "quality" in Quality Inn means being able to order a pizza while simultaneously making a delivery of your own. Amenities indeed.

This isn't to say that the rest of the trip was downhill, but the toilet phone did set the bar high. Luckily, New England was up to the challenge, thanks in no small part to NPW, who graciously (which is an understatement) lent us some real estate in her living room (okay, all of her living room) and a high-end air mattress for four days and nights in Massachusetts. She also drove us around the whole time, paid our subway fare, acted as tour guide for much of Greater Boston, and bought us cannoli from Mike's Pastry in the North End. See what I mean by understatement? Oh, and she's cool and makes good coffee.

Things to do in Boston when NPW is showing you around:
-Climb the Bunker Hill Monument on your first evening in town, ensuring cramped quadriceps for the next few days.
-See every single thing you can think of that dates from the Revolution. This is Boston after all.
-Eat a sausage from the Sausage Guy at the Boston Food Truck Festival.
-Pee on the Bucky Dent-shaped urinal mints in Quincy Market. (Not really. I didn't actually even use the restroom at Quincy Market but this is what I daydreamed about while waiting on my companions who did. No word on whether girls get things to pee on, or if they are shaped like former Yankees players. Also, I watched the pigeons.)
-Visit Harvard Yard and wonder if you really are as smart as you think you are.
-If you are a lady, drink a Boston Cream Pie Martini. If you are a dude, drink a beer and watch the ladies drink Boston Cream Pie Martinis.
-Have dinner with Aaron (who may be even funnier in person than he is in writing) and his fiance Mara (who is equally charming but has more hair), who are obviously in league with NPW in trying to prove that the term "Northern hospitality" is not an oxymoron, as people from the overrated South would have you believe.

And when you've had your fill of Boston (for now), visit historic Salem, where NPW will treat you to the Salem Witch Museum, which she assured us would be the cheesiest, lamest, most low-rent Hall of Presidents-style musem ever, and an absolute must-see. (She was right: it was either gloriously stupefying or stupefyingly glorious, I'm not sure which.) Also, when riding the historic tour trolley, do not get off at the first stop. It will not be coming back around shortly as they claim and the cooler stuff is still to come. When you are done with witches, clean your palate with a drive up to Newburyport, an absolutely charming seaside town with no known history of crushing people to death with stones.

Eventually, you will wear out your welcome in Massachusetts or NPW will have a plane to catch to Denver, one of the two. That's your cue to take the scenic route up to Portland, Maine and spend a few days there drinking local brews, eating lobster as often as possible, strolling the cobblestone streets and kayaking the island-studded coastline. Now that you've laid low in the most eastern of states, sneak back into Massachusetts for some more history in the charming village (there is no shortage of these) of Concord, where not only were the first shots of the American revolution fired, but a suspicious number of famous authors put pen to page. (I'd say it must be something in the water, but I had an iced coffee there and didn't write jack shit for two months.)

By now you're probably sick of all this damn New England charm that seems to be in such abundance, so spend the night in Worcester, where you'll drive around for an hour before finding an area that even seems safe enough to stop the car, let alone actually get out and find some dinner. That's sometimes the price you pay for avoiding the Crapplebee's by the interstate.

That's one scenario, anyway. The first step is cozying up to NPW, internet-style, so she invites you up in the first place. After that the rest takes care of itself. On our particular version of this vacation to Roanoke (the rest was just gravy,) Courtney and I also spent a night in New Haven, Connecticut where we walked around Yale University and ate a pizza on New Haven Green, attracting the attention of just one of the alarming number of homeless people there. If you have six hundred dollars you want to invest in a revolutionary new exercise machine (or maybe just some pizza you're not going to finish,) I know the guy you need to see.

For more amazing photos of our trip, none of which are from the inside of a bathroom, click here.


nancypearlwannabe said...

Ha ha ha... my calves STILL hurt when I got to Denver!

I'm glad you guys had so much fun. I'm a little worried that you made it sound like TOO much fun- I'm going to have to turn my tiny ass apartment into a B & B.

Courtney said...

I KNOW I'm not as smart as I once thought I was. But touring Harvard and Yale only reinforces it. However, I did partake of the Boston Cream Pie martini, which makes me at least a little bit smarter than you.

Rich said...

It's been two months. Shame on you. LOL, as usual.

Lynn said...

Now I REALLY want to meet NPW - I love cannolis!

I'm wondering... Does Quincy need Bucky's permission to make urinal mints in his image?

Ditto what Rich said, too.