When planning for my Spring Break trip this year, I searched the Internet for hours to find the best travel bargains on my airfare and rental car. I could have flown round trip to Boston and rented a car for 10 days and spent over $1000; instead I discovered that if I flew to Newark, spent a couple days in New York, took the train to Albany to visit friends, and then rented a car in Albany that I could return at Boston, I would save about $400. And on top of the saved cash, I got to experience several different places, making for a much more diverse vacation!
First Stop: New York City
Taking the train from Newark International to Penn Station is a snap, and having gotten myself a great hotel within a block of the station via Priceline.com, my arrival in the Big Apple could not have been easier. What can you say about New York? It is a city like no other, and I’m driven by a need to visit it every so often, only wishing that it weren’t quite so expensive or that I’d hit the lottery so I could stay here for an extended time and really explore. My short visit included hiking the Highline, an elevated walkway and park skirting the west side of Chelsea, cupcakes at Empire Cake, Indian cuisine at Spice Symphony, walking and people watching throughout Chelsea and Midtown, and coffee and donuts for breakfast at the Doughnut Plant. I love you, New York!
From Albany through the Berkshires to Boston
After a pleasant train ride from New York to Albany, I visited with a friend and we had a fantastic Vietnamese dinner at a place called Van’s. I woke up to a good 3 inches of new snowfall, which seemed to piss off the locals, but made my heart sing, and I set out across the Berkshire Mountains of western Massachusetts in my rental car. I relished the winter scenery, and the totally off the charts pancakes and sausage at Gould’s Maple Sugar House in Shelburne Falls. I got a seat at the counter overlooking the grill so I had a ringside seat watching my fluffy pancakes rise and turn a golden brown.
From Boston to Newport, Rhode Island
I grew up in New Bedford, Massachusetts… an hour south of Boston and a half an hour from Providence and Newport, Rhode Island. Even though I moved away from here in 1982, it will always be my home. It’s where my roots are, where friends from childhood and friends I made in college 40 years ago are still there to share a meal, a cup of coffee, a movie, a walk, and a lot of laughs. In between visits, I went on woodland and coastal hikes in Rhode Island, and urban walks through Boston. I also got my fill of native clams, scallops and lobster. It’s always good to be “home.”