Originally, we had decided to cancel this road trip. See, we’ve been traveling like bandits this summer, and though a budget has kept us in line, we still couldn’t justify another weekend getaway on our current funds.
But then an unknown monster broke into our apartment, and we said, “Hey, now’s as good a time as any to get out of town.” Sometimes you just need to leave.
There was no way we could swing Boston, the original destination, on our budget. So we had to think of somewhere new and cheaper. Megan was craving the ocean, and I didn’t blame her. Neither of us had ever seen an Atlantic beach town before. Ocean towns are generally cheap, since beaches are free (usually). We also decided to save on hotels and sleep in the car, i.e., the Walmart Parking Lot Express.
New Hampshire and Maine were both on my East Coast bucket-list, Maine especially (Stephen King fan, ova heer!). New Hampshire was intriguing because their state motto is “Live Free or Die,” so… As it turned out, New Hampshire has a small sliver of ocean-front property, just below Maine. Perfect.
While we didn’t necessarily “do” anything in Massachusetts, we did drive through the entire the state. This was exciting for me because I have fantasized about visiting Boston for years. My California friends and I used to host “Boston Night” every Tuesday at my old apartment; we would watch a Boston based movie, eat Boston Baked Beans, and swear a lot. Just being in the state was enthralling. My big purchase? A slice of pizza and soda at a rest-stop. Go Sox!
Besides the motto, we didn’t know anything about the state. We Googled “Walmarts near coastal New Hampshire” and the results returned a town named Portsmouth.
Portsmouth (pronounced Portsmuth) is an almost 7 hour drive from Rochester, our longest road trip of the summer. We pulled into Walmart around midnight, jumped in the back of the car and slept like over sized, adult babies. Early, I was stirred by a beautiful sunrise, a gorgeous view from our hotel window.
So we got up and found the ocean. And it was gorgeous. It was exactly what we needed. The New England coastline was a peaceful, serene, and beautiful expanse.
The beach we happened upon was named Pirate’s Cove, right next to Rye State Park. At Rye, we came across this awesome sign. It’s amazing the history you stumble upon, over here in the East. (Click to enlarge the picture!)
The town of Portsmouth was equally as exciting. Though we desperately wanted to eat at every restaurant and pub we came across, we only budgeted for one (nice) outing. So we settled on authentic New England seafood chowder and lobster rolls. Oh man, oh man, it was everything my coastal tongue ever dreamed of.
Some more shots of historic Portsmouth.
York was a ten minute drive from Portsmouth and is also the second oldest city in Maine. York has a peaceful, sleepy village, beautiful parks, and an (almost) tropical cove with trails winding over cliffs and a beach filled with swimmers and sandcastles, Mainers making the best of their summer weather.
We took the trail.
After a little exploring, we rested in the York park overlooking the cove. I forget the park’s actual name (doh!) but it was great nonetheless, with some art to boot!
Finally, a lighthouse. Because, apparently, in coastal Maine that’s what you do. It was also free. Truthfully, I’m no “lighthouse guy,” but I still enjoyed myself and I’d recommend the trip. It is quite gorgeous. We found the Nubble Lighthouse at Cape Neddick. It’s claim to fame? The most photographed lighthouse in the world. Here’s mine.
We finished the weekend with a stunning look at the “Super Moon” as it rose over the New Hampshire Atlantic. Our iPhones didn’t do it justice, so I’ll just leave that up to your imagination. The last beach we visited, whatever it was called, was a special place. It seemed carved just for us, our little New England cove, a reward that proved that natural beauty is indeed free, and it costs only the energy it takes for you to go and find it.