Must Do’s Along the East Coast, USA

After leaving San Francisco, I headed back East to spend a month at home. Well…kind of at home.

Homeward trips are so rare for me these days that when I’m even in the vicinity, I tend to try to catch up with people from the entire eastern seaboard (or, in this case, as far west as San Francisco). You can’t blame a girl for multitasking/taking every opportunity to keep in touch with those she loves, right?
And the people I love are quite lovely. My heart melts at these little ones. Every time I go home, they’re about 100 feet taller, much more articulate and just that much further from their baby days. And yet I still call them “the babies.” Living far away makes you antiquated, I swear.
So the trip panned out like this: home for a week (for the 4th of July!), Montreal, Vermont, Boston, NYC, Holden Beach, Richmond and Williamsburg. Are you ready for a month on the road?
Hop in the car and I’ll take you along for a bit of it!

Home in DC

Its been about 10 years- I can’t believe it!- since I lived in DC. So its almost silly to call myself a local, although I suppose I am a native (kind of anachronistic, I realize!). Still, there are some things I must must must do when I’m at home, mementos of another time…and therefore very, very special. But still weird since I need to use GPS to get around everywhere in my old hood :/
This includes…

the Mall in DC

The Washington Monument from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

 

The big man Lincoln himself…with some funny characters beneath him.

 

The Lincoln Memorial from the Monument

 

Always gives me chills to stand right where MLK gave his speech.

 

The WWII Memorial, reppin’ my state!

Georgetown, DC

OK, so Teaism isn’t actually in Georgetown, but its close, and has the best tea in the world.

 

I love the “old” streets. They’re so gorgeous. Of course, then I moved to the UK and realized…they aren’t *that* old.

 

If you’re a fan of cupcakes and nothing in Europe is sweet enough, try Baked and Wired. O.M.G. Went three times and it wasn’t enough!

A Nats Game

Actually, I need to add a disclaimer on this one…I really dislike baseball. The game is slow and the men have less nice legs than soccer or football players. However, I do like that I could have a beer in public before 5pm without receiving mean and judging looks. AND, who knew, the fields are perfectly manicured and really play in to my OCD tendencies…we also got amazing seats, so that didn’t hurt.
This is my little thing with my mom. We go every time I am home to try the wine, have a little lunch and enjoy the amazing views. Although it was cloudy, the views were still amazing, the food still delicious and the company still uproarious!
So that was home. Other things not to miss, that I’ll spare you pictures of, are my favorite food haunts including Sunflower Vegetarian and P.F. Changs (I love love love love LOVE Chinese food, and miss it deeply).

Up next on our trip…

Montreal

As you know, I’ve been to Montreal before, the last time with my crazy Zell twins and soul mates. This time promised to be more low key, but also informative: I wanted to check it out for potential, you know, as a city to live in. It didn’t disappoint. It is definitely a contender!
Rue St Catherine East, in the heart of the Gay Village and very close to our hotel
We didn’t stay in the Old City this time, but a bit further out, to see what the rest of the city was like. We discovered so many different parts just walking and cycling around.
A lot of the city is pedestrianized, and the parts that aren’t are very bike friendly. Its like an odd mix of Paris and Charlotte- new and old buildings, skyscrapers and narrow cobbled streets, people speaking in all languages, foods from all over. There is also water and mountains. One mountain in particular, Mont Royal, which I biked up for the views and consequently almost fainted from heatstroke at the top. The view was worth it. I think.

A few good restaurants to try if you’re in Montreal: Dolcetto is a MUST. Its in the Old Town, so you can wander the old streets and take a look at the cathedral, and then try the amazing Italian tapas. Try the pizza with gorgonzola or the gnocchi. If you want to splash out a little, try Les Trois Petits Bouchons. This was by and far the best food I had the entire trip. Solid French food, good wine selection. Try the suprised dates.

Vermont

Next up? Visiting family and taking a trip down memory lane in Vermont. I spent many childhood summers and Christmases around the State, as most of both parents’ families lived there. Now that everyone is all grown up, we’ve all scattered a bit, making reunions a bit of a task. I thought I’d just drive through to see who I could catch up with more or less unannounced.
The shores of Lake Champlain, the prettiest (coldest) lake in New England.

The main street in my parents’ hometown- nice to know that small town America really does still exist.
I couldn’t believe the town bandstand was still standing…I used to play house in here!

 

And of course had to get a creeme from the Village Creeme stand…

 

…and then spend the night at the family farm.

After a nice night seeing family and reliving my childhood, it was on to…

 Boston

…to visit my soul sister, Hanzell.

I really like Boston. Like Montreal, its this historical city smashed in the present day. I think these pictures show you what I mean:

I always feel a little overly underwhelmed when I’m in Boston, though. Its this huge city, and its really very beautiful. But I never feel like much is going on when I’m there, except of course all the crazy things I get up to with my friends.
Like Montreal, this was a “dip the toe in the water” kind of stop to see if I could live there, but sadly I don’t think Boston is for me. I did have a lovely time exploring, though!
Boston Common
The Public Library, my favorite spot in Boston.
I obviously had to have a lobster roll. When in New England…!

Being so close, I had to return to…

 New York City

I don’t think I’d been since moving back to London. The time and space definitely did me some good. I can now suffer the city again 😉 Highlights that I always like to point out in NYC include…

Chinatown and Little Italy

If you love Chinese food (like me), love walking around people watching (like me) and polishing off all of this with a cannoli (as long as there is no ricotta, like me) then this is the area for you.

 

Rockefeller Center

Do yourself a favor, skip the Empire State Building and do Top of the Rock instead. Also, pretend to be Liz Lemon.

You’re literally on top of NYC, which means you’re on top of the world!

Times Square

I’d actually really recommend staying away from this place, but if you’re with tourists or people who’ve never been to NYC before, I guess you have to go. Hopefully these pictures will suffice and save you from the mass of humanity that is Times Square.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

I just love the Met. I could get lost in there for days. The best thing about it is that you gain entry on a pay-as-you-offer scheme, so although there are suggested admission rates, you can pay what you think is fair to get in. This was pretty much my face when I found that out:

 

The East and West Village/NYU Area

A NYC local would kill me for conflating these areas, and I do apologize, but if you block off a few hours you can walk through all of it. The leafy streets, amazing apartment buildings, cool graffiti and amazing restaurants make this by far my favorite area of NYC.

 

And if you’re looking for food and drink recommendations…you’ve come to the right place.
If you are like the rest of the Western world and want to try to first-ever cronut, go to Dominique Ansel Bakery in Soho. Get there early, there’s always, always, always a line and apparently cronuts sell out quickly.
Later in the day, if you’re parched, head toward Midtown and have a drink or three at the Russian Tea Room, which is a few blocks east of Columbus Circle. I am personally obsessed with the decor, but the food is a little pricey and since I’m a veg all I can eat is borscht. That’s why the amazing Russian vodka menu speaks to me…and this man here:
Finally, head back toward the Village to end your day at Babbo, an amazing Italian eatery. I guess the chef is super famous. Although I’m a confirmed foodie, that kind of thing never impresses me as much as the food itself, which is hearty and delicious. The views around the restaurant aren’t too bad, either.
Next up:

Holden Beach, one of many North Carolina beaches

I’ve always been a Bethany Beach girl myself, so I was halfway looking forward to a new place and halfway wondering what I’d gotten myself in to. But the water was warm, the people friendly and the sun hot, so I can’t complain. I also liked how un-commercial the beach was- there was no board walk, no huge arcade, no carnival with cotton candy. Just families enjoy each other’s company and the warm, warm water.
Our family cottage at the beach.

Phew, getting tired yet? I sure was. All that driving clocked in over 1,766 miles, and we’re not done just yet! Its no wonder I needed a pick me up at my favorite breakfast place of all time (hey, there’s no accounting for taste, okay!), Waffle House. Gosh do I miss it.

After Holden, a stopover in…

Richmond

was necessary to catch up with more sisters from another mister.
Richmond has a look. I think it was pretty rough during my upbringing but the influx of hipsters and bankers has made it one of those really artsy, really “happening” medium-sized American cities. There’s lots of cool history from the Civil War, its Edgar Allen Poe’s home and there’s great southern food without having to travel too far below the Mason Dixon. What’s not to love?
If you find yourself in Richmond, head to Lamplighter for good coffee (try the iced lavender latte) and pancakes. Mmmm, American pancakes, I miss you already!
Then take a walk around the city. Stare at the architecture, and the crazy people who clearly live dotted throughout the neighborhoods.
Then, if its warm, go for a dip in the James River. Its right in the center of town and the water is remarkably clean for being so close to a huge hub of industry. You can also see one of the coolest cemeteries of all time, Hollywood Cemetery, across the water.
And since I was so close, a day trip to my alma mater, William and Mary, in Williamsburg was necessary. Like NYC, I had some bittersweet memories that kept me from going back. However, the thought of the next time I’d be close enough and have the time meant now or never!
Its still as gorgeous and small town as always. And the sandwiches from the Cheese Shop are as legendary as ever.
On my last night, tired from almost 2,300 miles of driving in three weeks, I went to see Florida Georgia Line. I’ve developed a taste for country music since living in London. I think it makes me feel closer to home. If you knew my aversion to it growing up, you’d be shocked enough. The fact that my mother wanted to come and tailgate with me was even more shocking.
The next morning, it was up early to fly on to Iceland for more road trippin’, which I’ll write about shortly. As I waved goodbye to my mom from the Icelandair check-in desk, I had to turn away and start crying. Although the US isn’t really home to me anymore, its where everyone I love is. Its where all the things I find familiar, comforting, delicious (Chinese food! Where are you in Europe!?) and easy are. That’s not to say I haven’t had hard times there, or that everything is always easy going. But its a comfort zone surrounded by a ring of people who I love and love me that will always, always mean so much to me, regardless of where my life takes me. And who knows where that will be. If this trip is any indication, it could be a long road ahead…

Comments

  • Amber

    February 27, 2017 - 3:17 am

    Hello! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any trouble with hackers?

    My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing several weeks of hard work due to no backup.

    Do you have any methods to protect against hackers?

    • carefulfeetme

      March 1, 2017 - 4:10 pm

      I haven’t, but there are a lot of plugins that offer security measures (some of which I use!) that you may find helpful. 🙂

Leave A Comment