Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Boston and Beyond ...

They say New England is awesome in fall. And they are so right. Although colors were slightly late this year and we ran into unusually bad weather during the weekend - the drives through scenic routes of Vermont and New Hampshsire were so pretty - and as always Boston has its own charm.

I landed in Boston on a sunny Thursday afternoon. Boston is a city meant for walking - all the travel guides warned me of aggressive drivers and bikers and even of aggressive pedestrians. What they forgot to add was often non existent and mostly confusing road signs. Driving in Boston, like any other big city is not fun.

But walking through the streets of the city sure is. I have been to Boston before - a quick Thanksgiving trip in 2003 was my first visit to any big American city. I have been to so many cities after that - but I must confess - Boston is an unique experience. Its not only about the feel of history associated with it - but the predominantly European architecture, enlightened population (After all which other city has two schools like MIT and Harvard down the same street?) - the overall ambiance is what makes Boston so special. They have red line going along the sidewalks connecting most of the major historical landmarks - it is named the freedom trail - and its difficult not to get lost in the past walking down the trail - starting from the golden dome of Old City Hall to Boston Commons to the the ever popular Faneuil Market Halls - passing through old cemeteries and churches. It leads you across the river Charles to the old shipyard and Bunker hill monument.

Did I mention the Faneuil Hall? To me - its the centre of Boston downtown. A throbbing shopping and eating place - with foods stalls from different parts of the world lined up inside the Quincy Market - spending an evening here is an integral part of the Boston experience.

I headed to Amherst, a quiet college town in the western Massachusetts at the end of the day. My friend there married his longtime sweetheart in the summer - and it feels kind of weird to see close buddies actually getting married!

Next day we went up via route 2 to the Green mountains region of Vermont - and travelled from Bennington to Brattleborough through scenic route 9. A little delay in the arrival of the peak color meant places in lower elevation just started turning yellow while the foliage up the elevation was a mixture of green, yellow and orange. Bad weather made it difficult to click too many photos though. We stopped at the little town of Brattleborough - its one of those small towns full with eateries and antique shops with a distinct old world charm.

The weather played spoilsport on Saturday. So we just just took the route 2 to Boston - which was although not brimming with colors - was nice anyway - specially for eyes used to Florida (An aside: there is a place called Florida in Massachusetts) greenery. The state routes in that part of the world are so much prettier than freeways - you cruise along winding roads and little picturesque towns.

We decided to head up north on Sunday. The sky was overcast - but it was better than last two days.We took the interstate 91 straight up - then turned into New Hampshire via route 25 and then onto route 112 - better known as Kancamagus Highway through the White Mountain region. And it was awesome.Once we were at a higher elevation - it was a riot of colors all around us - from bright yellow to sparking orange to ruby red and evolving crimson. Standing there -looking at the foliage - the pictures you get are so grossly inadequate to convey the wonderful settings. Now I know what brings so many people to these regions every year in fall - just to be a part of the spectacle is an experience I would saviour till next time. We came back via route 302 to interstate 93 to interstate 91 again - they actually take you to all the way to Canada if you continue going north.

After all these fun - came the bad part. My flight back on Monday night was cancelled - and to take the early morning flight out from Logan - I ended up spending the night at airport. And after a while - it was pretty "India-esque" - with people sleeping on the floors!

P.S - The state motto of New Hampshire ,which appears on state's automobile licence plates is "Live Free or Die"!

1 comment:

starbender said...

Sounds like your having a great time!