A couple months ago, I was talking to my husband and a question came up: if we could go on a one-week road trip right now, where would we go? We discussed driving to Quebec, to New York City, even going down the East Coast and exploring Charleston or Savannah. But we kept landing on one trip that seemed to offer the biggest bang for our hypothetical buck: New England.
It’s summer so we were a bit early for the true fall beauty of the Northeast, but we were able to pull off a six day adventure that we will never forget. First step was finding an appropriate rental car for the weeklong trip. I logged onto Expedia and found a great weeklong rate for a midsize car through our local Enterprise. When Tyler picked it up, we were even offered a free upgrade, landing us a decked out Nissan Rogue which impressed us throughout the entire journey. It even had cameras on the underside of each side mirror that allowed you an aerial view of your car reversing as if there was a drone overhead!
I had been reading up on money-saving tips when traveling and kept hearing about the Expedia Add-on Advantage, which allowed us to get specific discounts at hotels during the period that we had our car rental. This allowed us to quickly narrow the areas to stay and focus on the style/location of our hotels.
In previous trips, we had the tendency to stay in each hotel for one night at a time, which ended up minimizing the ability to fully experience the benefits of a nice hotel and appreciate the amenities that we often splurge for. For this trip, we established two “bases” (the Providence, Rhode Island area for the first half of our trip and southeastern New Hampshire for the second half). We landed on hotels which we could capitalize on the Expedia Add-on Advantage and got ready for our journey with ease, flexibility, and savings.
Leaving on a Saturday, we had a full schedule before our first long haul: Fox has soccer on Saturday mornings and we left most of our packing for the morning of our departure. Despite getting on the road around 2pm, we made great time trekking across New York and most of Massachusetts, arriving at our first hotel, the NYLO Warwick around 9pm. I’m not ashamed to admit that we had some clam chowder and shrimp cocktail delivered later than we would normally be asleep most nights, but it was arguably the best meal we had the entire trip.
Our first day consisted of a little road trip out to Mystic, Connecticut to walk through the downtown area, grab some slices at the famous Mystic Pizza, and pick up our first sampling of saltwater taffy. We spent the afternoon in Newport, Rhode Island walking a couple miles on the beautiful Cliff Walk before sitting on the beach with some mouth-watering lobster rolls and playing on the sand. At this point, despite a handful of warnings, I decided it was a great time to hold up my beautiful lobster roll to take a shot for my Instagram. Within a half-second of holding up the lovely seafood snack, a bold and brazen seagull swiftly slapped it straight out of my hand. Tyler reluctantly shared his with me and we were able to leap back into our car before a deluge of rain and thunder took us over.
Our second day was filled with a trip out to Plymouth, Massachusetts. We tackled the usual sights: Plymouth Rock, Brewster Gardens, and the Grist Mill, along with a stroll through the old courthouse. Unfortunately, our day in Plymouth coincided with a blistering heat wave, which cut our day short before recovering back in our hotel.
Third was a full day in Boston. Fox was most looking forward to Boston because he knew that our day was ending with a trip to Boston Common and the Tadpole Playground and Frog Pond. We did have enough opportunity to work our way down the Freedom Trail and see several of the sights along it, finishing our day at Saus for yummy mushroom miso poutine. My personal favorite had to be the Brattle Book Shop, which sets up most days in a small alley a few blocks from the Common.
Perhaps my favorite day of the entire trip was spent in Salem, Massachusetts, which was our stopping point before switching hotels that evening. The history, architecture, and overall vibe of the city had my dying to pick up and move into one of the beautiful historic homes lining the street. Nearly every home had a plaque from the city noting the year it was built, who it was built for, and their profession. A whole story unfolded just walking the streets. We explored homes featured in Hocus Pocus, buildings significant in the Salem Witch Trials, wandered along the waterfront, toured the House of the Seven Gables (of Nathaniel Hawthorne fame) and were even able to let Fox expend his extra energy at a playground in Salem Common.
Remember Max and Dani’s house?
After our fun-filled day, we continued north to Exeter, New Hampshire, where our second discounted hotel (thanks to the Expedia Add-on Advantage) awaited.
The Exeter Inn was a beautiful, historic building in the downtown village of Exeter, which charm to spare. The lobby restaurant was to die for, and I would be lying if I didn’t admit that we ordered room service twice a day each of the days that we were there.
On our fifth day, we embarked up to Maine, for a stroll through Kennebunk and Kennebunkport for some seafood and taffy. The weather wasn’t on our side, and it took several false starts before we could sit on the boardwalk to enjoy lunch and explore the shops along Dock Square. While we were able to grab some exquisite lunch from the Clam Shack (and even pick up a lobster lollipop for Fox), our day was abbreviated by torrential rail, and thus we headed back to the lovely Exeter Inn.
After a big room-delivered dinner and a long night’s sleep, we woke up, packed our bags and started our journey back to Western New York. We chose the more scenic route, through New Hampshire and Vermont instead of taking the interstate on the way back. This took us through wonderful small towns like Keene, New Hampshire and Wilmington, Vermont, both of which made my list of return-to locations for the fall.
If you’ve seen Jumanji before, this may look familiar!
I have to thank Expedia’s Add-on Advantage for making this trip exceptionally more affordable than it would have been if we booked each part separately. I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I’m already starting to plan our next grand road trip.
If you had a week to go anywhere you wanted, where would you go?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
Looks like you guys had a blast!
I’m loving those historic houses in Salem and jealous of all the great meals you had. ha!
Thank you, Tim! I’m hoping to go back soon.
Sarabeth McElhaney recently posted…Our Efficient New England Road Trip