MAJOR THINGS TO SEE AND DO
I plan to be in New England in the Fall and during this time, the colder weather makes most of the tree leaves change color from green, to yellow, to orange and red. Aside from the spectacular sights of ‘fall foliage’, I also want to tour the Colonial sights throughout the Northeast. Hopping my way down the Atlantic seaside, I plan to eat my fair share of seafood and watch the fishing boats come in. Places like Cape Cod, Nantucket, and Martha’s Vineyard are on my must see list as well as a few Ivy League college campuses (Harvard, Yale). In fact, I will make a pit stop in South Hadley, Massachusetts where my grandmother went to Mount Holyoke College. Love you, Grandmie!!
HOW TO GET AROUND
New England is easier to see by car as the highways are plentiful and public transportation is not as frequent (Americans like to drive and rental cars are most always available). However, with a bit of planning, there are some great alternatives of bus, train, and ferry services. Greyhound, a national bus company, covers New England, but Peter Pan Bus Lines and Vermont Transit also offer routes around this area. By train, Amtrak travels the Northeast Corridor with Boston as its hub. From there The Vermonter line travels North to Vermont and The Downeaster travels Northeast to Maine. Commuter rail service is also available for shorter distances.
MAJOR EVENTS DURING MY VISIT
My favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, will occur the third Thursday of November. During this holiday, people gather for a feast – traditionally Turkey, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie are served (YUM!). My family/friends also take a moment to tell each other what they are most thankful for. How cool to celebrate Thanksgiving in the area where it originated, per my school textbooks.
GENERAL COST PER DAY
While major cities (especially Boston, Massachusetts) are normally pricy, the costs don’t drop significantly throughout the rest of New England. I read that for budget accommodations/restaurants and basic sightseeing/public transportation, I can expect to spend around $100 US per day. Midrange costs are about $150 US per day. Tipping is a common occurrence in nice restaurants anywhere from 15%-20% of bill. A $1-$2 US tip is appropriate for bartenders and baggage handlers (if you use them). When I’ve used a taxi, I typically tip the driver by rounding up a bit from the total fare.
TOP CULTURAL DO’S AND DON’T’S
The U.S. is a melting pot of many cultures/traditions/religions, so there is a blur of proper do’s and don’t’s for the country. So, I’ll provide some of my suggestions. It is normal to stand in line and wait your turn – cutting in line is extremely rude. However, a few New England friends advised me that I need to be aware of my place in line – if I hesitate to move forward, someone can (and most often will) consider this an open to cut in front of me. Don’t negotiate price in stores (unless an item is obviously damaged) – save negotiating for garage sales. Typically we pay whatever the advertised price is; however, the use of coupons for a discount is acceptable. Unless you are eating in a nice restaurant or you don’t see a place to put your dishes/trash, it is proper to ‘clean up after yourself’ (this is particularly important if eating outdoors).
SCAMS AND OTHER STUFF TO WATCH OUT FOR
New England is one of the safest areas of the country, but crime does happen. Every town/city has areas that should be traveled with caution at night and acts of violence can happen anywhere. Be aware of your surroundings, keep valuables out of sight/locked up, and don’t hitchhike. You may be approached by panhandlers on the street, but almost all of them pose no threat. In the US, 911 can be dialed for emergencies, even from pay-phones.
A few famous items of local New England cuisine include New Haven’s pizza, Vermont’s maple syrup, Southern Massachusetts and Rhode Island’s Portuguese cuisine, and Maine’s lobster and blueberries. Moxie, America’s first mass-produced soft drink, is known for its strong aftertaste and is found throughout New England. Some of my favorite food/drink producers are located in the Northeast and I might see about a factory tour – Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, Pepperidge Farms, and Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams) here I come!
After visiting New England, I plan to work my way down the East Coast of the U.S. checking out a few major areas (New York City and Washington D.C.) before my final destination of Atlanta, Georgia. This is where my around-the-world trip ends and the fun of repatriation starts.