Posted in Travel

New England in the Fall

Back in October 2012, when we were living in Boston, my grandmother and mother came to visit and we went on a road trip up the New England coast to see the Fall colors. I’m not sure why I haven’t blogged about this trip but here is my attempt to recreate it from memory (I’ve mislaid my diary from this period too!).

Mum loved a good road trip and so it was the natural thing to do when she and Nana wanted to visit our new home in Boston.

They arrived in early October and spent a few days staying nearby in Cambridge. The fall colors were already beginning to show.

Fall – Cambridge, MA, early October 2012

Our first order of business was to check out some family history. A cousin of my grandmother is buried in Boston – their family had come here in the early 1900s and the daughter had been killed in a motorbike crash when she was in her early twenties. She is buried at Mount Hope Cemetery.

At Mount Hope Cemetery with my grandmother in October 2012
Mount Hope Cemetery

The next order of business was my first 10k running race in the US – the Tufts 10km Women’s Race! It was a great experience.

Running the Tufts 10km Women’s Race in October 2012 – that’s me in the middle in pink!

A few days later we picked up a rental car – it was a Dodge Avenger (I think) and my grandmother couldn’t really see out from the back seat – and we set off, starting by driving south to Plymouth, MA.

Plymouth is a cute harbor town where a replica of the original Mayflower, called the Mayflower II, is moored. Plymouth is the site of the colony founded in 1620 by Mayflower pilgrims.

Nana often blinked just as the photo was being taken…Mayflower II in the background.

Then we headed to the nearby Plimouth Plantation which is a living museum replicating the original Plymouth colony.

Part of Plimouth Plantation

We then drove to Orleans which is a bit further along towards Cape Cod. Doing some detective work on the photo below, it appears we had dinner at the Lobster Claw which closed in 2020 after 51 years in the business.

The Lobster Claw, Orleans, MA.

The next day we went across the cape to a beach, which could well have been Nauset Beach. It was cold but pretty and quite empty.

Nauset Beach, MA. I think.

Because going to the end of the road was the sort of thing we liked to do, we had to drive up the spit all the way up to Provincetown, MA!

Thank goodness for clues in photographs about what town you were in…

The next day we drove a few hours back north towards Concord, MA. We found ourselves struggling through the traffic on the I-95 and ended up staying in a relatively expensive hotel at a junction just south of the Cambridge Reservoir. Our other option was to drive across town back to our apartment in Cambridge but that didn’t seem sensible. The next day we went into Concord and saw The Minute Man statue.

After this, I think our goal was just to see the coast and get a good feel for autumn in New England. We were aiming for Arcadia National Park in Maine, and then later Mum and Nana were headed to Canada. So after getting our fill of US history in Concord we headed back east and stopped at the coastal town of Rockport, MA. I guess we stayed the night but I have no record of where!

Rockport, MA

The next day we drove the nearly 200 miles to Camden, Maine. We caught the view in Camden Hills State Park then went back along the road in search of somewhere to stay. We looked in a few places but I think several were closed for the season (it was mid-October by this point) or were massively too expensive. We eventually found one place that was open and reasonable looking and got a cabin by the water. I’m pretty sure was the Drift Oceanside Inn though judging by the photos online, it’s been considerably renovated since we were there. It was very peaceful at the cabins, which was Mum’s cue to accidentally press the alarm button on the car key. With blaring horns it took us a good while to work out what we’d done and to shut it off….. hello everyone, we’re here!

I seem to remember it being pretty cold at Camden Hills State Park!
Cabin near Camden, ME
I remember it was really cold in the cabin too!

I think this was the town where we had Maine lobster for dinner in a place where the staff were quite rude, and there was a cute main street. Good Fall colors though!

Camden, ME

The next day we drove another two hours north to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. Enroute we had picked up a small pumpkin that was proudly displayed on the dashboard.

Enroute to Bar Harbor

As always, since we saw an opportunity for a view, we went to investigate. I think it was the Cadillac North Ridge Trail but we can’t have gone too far hiking as Nana wasn’t great with hills. The view was beautiful and there were cruise ships dotted among the islands.

Cadillac North Ridge

It was Saturday when we visited Arcadia National Park and so the place was totally packed. We mostly drove around admiring the leaves, and stopping occasionally to take photos. It was spectacular.

Busy in Acadia National Park

We stayed in some motor inn in Bar Harbor because that was the only place with rooms (obviously we didn’t plan ahead too much). We were woken up very early in the morning with seemingly endless people leaving and then later that morning we could see a lot thin, fit people hobbling about slowly…Mum recognized the signs immediately as she had seen it before with my Dad: they had just finished the Mount Desert Island Marathon!

The next day it was raining for the first time on the whole trip. Mum drove us to Bangor and I got the Greyhound back to Boston, while they continued north into Canada. I’m honestly not sure why I didn’t join them.

But this was another epic road trip in the book. I remain ever grateful to Mum for her adventurous spirit which gave us opportunities for trips like these.

Harvard Yard, late October 2012


Travel, photography, blogging, being an expat. And that's just in my spare time.

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