Road-trip 2012: Part I, US

What a whirlwind of adventure I’ve had over the past two weeks! Where to begin? The roadtrip I took with my husband was pretty well all-encompassing, with visits to outdoors-y places as well as concrete jungles. We started out by driving down through the White Mountains of NH where we stayed at a quaint small cabin for a few days. Seeing the white-capped mountains for the first time was so surreal. Most of the mountains I’ve seen are green or brown; these were out of a fairy tale.

White Mountains, NH (via instagram)

White Mountains, NH (via instagram)

Coliseum Falls, NH

Coliseum Falls, NH

It was one of the most relaxing parts of the trip; the fresh air, the beautiful scenery and the crisp weather was rejuvenating and prepared us for the bustling that would take place over the next week. We did tons of hiking, taking in lots of nature and the many waterfalls scattered throughout the area (we hiked to half a dozen or so).  The weather was prefect for hiking; lots of sun to guide our way and a nice refreshing cold breeze to keep us on our toes.  After unwinding in the mountains, it was onto Boston, with one stop at the Currier Art Museum in Massachusetts.

Cappuccinos at Currier Art Museum

Cappuccinos at Currier Art Museum

Currier Art Museum, cafe (via instagram)

Currier Art Museum, cafe (via instagram)

Our visit to this gallery was very pleasant; it’s just the right size that you’re able to explore the entire gallery in an afternoon without feeling overwhelmed. Since we were there during the day, it wasn’t overly crowded. The cafe offered more-than-reasonably-priced meals and absolutely stunning mosaics to behold while we relaxed. There were a few pieces from Monet and several other well-known artists, with some modern art to enjoy as well. I highly recommend going if you’re in the area.

Getting into the first of our “Big Cities” was a bit stressful, but in the end we found our Sommerville B&B. It was cold and rainy the entire day we spent in Boston, but we donned our raincoats and ventured out into the wet anyway. Despite the rain, Tim managed to get some lovely photos of the city and we really enjoyed walking around, taking in all the parks and sights.

Tulips in Boston (via Tim Lingley)

Tulips in Boston (via Tim Lingley)

Outside Boston Public Library (via Tim Lingley)

Outside Boston Public Library (via Tim Lingley)

We found our way to Newbury Street, which according to my research was supposed to be a really nice shopping spot. It turned out to be better than that, with lovely cafes, designer fashion spots and tons of independent galleries! The modern art on display in these galleries was truly inspiring and I plan to dedicate a handful of future entries to the artists we discovered while there. This street was one of the highlights of the trip for me. It had so much to behold and so many exciting opporitunities.

After walking all over Boston and ducking into the mall for a bit to escape the rain, we enjoyed a delicious supper in Little Italy and treated ourselves to some goodies at Mike’s Pastry (chocolate cheesecake, we ate it too fast for photos). Then it was back to the room to prepare for our journey to NYC.

Plymouth (via Tim Lingley)

Plymouth (via Tim Lingley)

It’s worth noting that we stopped in Plymouth on the way to New York; it was a lovely spot to stretch your legs, especially if you enjoy sea food! It had a very nice downtown area with cafes that made delicious Mochas. I wish we’d had the chance spent more time there, but it already set us back a few hours and we had to get going to make it to Newark before dark… which we didn’t end up doing. D’oh!

NYC (via Tim Lingley)

NYC (via Tim Lingley)

As I expected it to be, New York was a blur of lights and sound. Skyscrapers filled every horizon. People hustled and bustled and traffic was insane for most of the day. Thank goodness for public transit! It felt similar to Toronto, but taken to a whole new level of busy. It wasn’t hard to navigate the city but there was so much to see that it became a bit overwhelming. We got to MoMA and spent a few hours pouring over paintings from the masters including Gough, Dali, Monet, Picasso and Warhol among MANY others, but since there was so much there, we didn’t get to see it all.

Starry Night for real! (via Tim Lingley)

Starry Night for real! (via Tim Lingley)

Though I enjoyed seeing all the prestigious paintings, the biggest surprise for me in MoMA was Monet’s work; I had no idea they were so large (Water Lillies in particular)! Seeing his paintings fill an entire wall was incredible! I tried to grasp how you’d paint something so large and how much “stepping back” you’d have to do. It made me rethink how’d he paint, what tools and techniques he’d use.

Outside MoMA, an artist was doing portraits in oils:

Outside the MoMA (via Tim Lingley)

Outside the MoMA (via Tim Lingley)

One of the great things about visiting larger cities was the book stores! I was able to pick up two art books I’d been pining over that weren’t available in Canada (or were priced outrageously here, the dollar is at par, guys): 1000 Ideas by 100 Manga Artists, Hunt & Gather: Discovering New Art. I could’ve spent hours in the book stores alone as the art sections were so huge, but eventually we had to move on. I was expecting to fine some awesome or rare art supply stores in Boston and NYC, but we didn’t have much luck. We did trek a pretty long way in NYC to check out the Central Art Supply store but despite the size of the place, they didn’t have much of a different selection compared to what we have here in NB.

153/365 - Busy City Street in NYC by Tim Lingley (timlingley) on 500px.com
153/365 – Busy City Street in NYC by Tim Lingley

As much as I loved and was inspired by the Big Cities, I don’t think I could live there long term. The entire time I was there, I had this feeling in the back of my mind telling me to watch my back, mind my purse, etc. There weren’t any areas that I felt really unsafe in, but I still felt a bit apprehensive for most of the time. Pretty well everyone we interacted with was very nice, though! There was very little of the rudeness that I’ve heard so much about.

The first week of our trip was a great taste of the States: a mix of nature and city, both extremes. Given the choice, I’d go back to Boston first just to continue down Newbury Street to explore more of their galleries. Though NYC had a lot to offer, I felt that Boston was a trendier place to be.

Since this is getting a bit lengthy, I’ll keep the Canadian part of our trip to the next entry. See you then, starting at Niagara Falls!

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