Anne and I were able to cross another destination off our bucket list in October when we ventured to New England with a group put together through The Country Today by Viking Travel.
In a matter of eight days on the ground, we traveled through Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont. We learned something about each of the states and covered a lot of territory in a short amount of time!
We happened to hit the weather just about right, because other than one rainy day, we enjoyed beautiful temperatures while in the New England states. And the blue skies made for some picturesque scenes during our travels.
The trip was arranged so we never traveled more than three hours without making a stop to see or experience something. Each of the states has plenty to offer, from the big city of Boston to small tourist destinations in New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont.
There were a couple of absolutes on the trip — we had to eat some fresh Maine lobster and we had to stop at the Ben & Jerry’s factory in Vermont for ice cream. We managed to do both without much difficulty.
And between those stops, there was plenty of other good food to be enjoyed. I literally gained five pounds during the eight days in New England. I always figure it’s better to enjoy the local fare and worry about cutting back when you get home. The problem is, the weight goes on much easier than it comes off. I’m still working on it more than a month later.
It’s interesting how places seem so much closer together in the states we visited. In Wisconsin, three hours will get me from Barneveld to Eau Claire or Green Bay. In the East, a three-hour drive will get a person from Boston through New Hampshire and into Vermont or well up the coast beyond Portland, Maine.
It wasn’t stretching things for us to travel through four states in eight days.
One of the highlights of our trip was our full group of travelers huddling around a TV in an Italian restaurant in Woburn, Mass., to watch the end of a Packers’ victory over Dallas. The rest of the people in the place thought we were all a little nuts, but it was fun to see their reaction to a passionate group of Wisconsinites pulling for their team. As it turns out, those of us who bleed green and gold might have to savor that victory, because they could be far and few between the rest of the year.
Also high on the list of experiences was a visit to the Trapp Family Lodge near Stowe, Vt. We heard the story of how the von Trapp family — made famous by The Sound of Music — settled in Vermont after touring the U.S. as the von Trapp Family Singers. As a special treat, we had an opportunity to meet Kristina von Trapp, the granddaughter of Maria, made famous by Julie Andrews in the movie.
We visited farms, museums, tourist towns, historical sites and lots of places in between. And perhaps the best part was getting to know a group of people that we hadn’t met before. You learn a lot about a person when you are a euchre partner, and it seems at one time or another I was a partner with a majority of the people on the trip!
One more thing. After spending a considerable amount of time in the state, I now know how to spell Massachusetts. Before traveling there I always wondered how many s’s and t’s there were at various locations in the word. I’m glad I got that one settled.
So if you’ve ever had the desire travel through the New England states, I would highly recommend it.
Just make sure you have an elastic waistband in your pants.
Jim Massey is The Country Today editor and covers news and writes feature stories in southern Wisconsin. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.