Tuesday, November 11, 2008

End of the Road

After 5317 miles, 19 states, the District of Columbia and Canada, 21 days of traveling, 12 different accommodations and time spent with family and friends, we have been reminded that we live in a great country. Here are our general observations:

1. Hotels - This trip, we decided to mainly bid on rooms through Priceline, except 3 nights with family and a pre-booked home in Vermont. We stayed in all types of locations, but mainly 2 1/2 and 3 star hotels (Hyatt and Marriott Courtyard types). Our average per night was $57.24 plus taxes. (This did not factor in the "free" rooms with family). With exception of Washington, D.C., we logged on to the computer every day, determined where we wanted to spend the night and placed a bid on Priceline. Bidding for rooms is an easy way to get huge discounts and we enjoyed the challenge of doing it last minute trying to get a good deal. For Washington, it took 2-3 days of bidding before we were able to secure a room, but we were thrilled to find a rate of $89, which advertised for the "discounted" $249 per night on Capitol Hill. Our favorite accommodation was the Maersk house in Vermont - hands down!! It was amazing and a comfortable place to spend the week.

2. Car/Gas - The highest amount we paid for gas was $3.37 in New York and the lowest was $1.96 in Texas. The highest amount that we paid for parking was $45.96 per night at the Hyatt in Washington, DC, which we found to be outrageous!! Best estimates are that we used 322 gallons of gas at an average of $2.40 per gallon.

3. States/Areas we visited - Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Ontario, Canada, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Washington D.C., Virginia and West Virginia. Each location was so different, yet we enjoyed every one!

4. Food - We stuck to local restaurants and tried hard to stay away from fast food. We tried as many local specialties as we could discover. The one exception was Starbucks, which we found in plentiful supply. One interesting note is that in the New England area, Starbucks does a great job with a healthier breakfast...my favorite is the protein breakfast with a small whole wheat bagel and cheese, along with a hard boiled egg and grapes. As we went further south, the breakfast items were replaced with high-fat sugar items. Our favorite restaurants along the way were Rusty Scuppers in Baltimore , the Chart House in Annapolis, the 1785 Tavern in Lewisburg, WV, clam chowder at Rhode Island Quahogs, dinner at Georgia Browns in Washington DC and the Amish dinner at Plain and Fancy.....There were SO many great places to eat!!

5. Best memories - Learning about the Amish, seeing snowfall while we were in Vermont, touring the chocolate factory at Hershey's, taking an unexpected side trip to Indiana, seeing the changing of the guard at Arlington, building a fire daily at the Maersk house, making homemade vegetable soup in Vermont, dinner with Isabelle Paul, seeing a moose, going to the sugaring farm, having my parents and Linda join us for part of the trip, seeing the beautiful foliage all throughout New England, taking a buggy ride through the Amish countryside, having lunch at the school and the Mistletoe Market at Georgetown, eating roasted cinnamon pecans and coffee at side stops, seeing Madison, New Jersey, touring the Pentagon and Capitol building, seeing the Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown, walking in the rain to see Niagara Falls, dinner with Vinny and his mom in New Jersey, Dollywood in Nashville, watching the Von Trapp family singers in Massachusetts, breakfasts at Starbucks, seeing 2 seasons at once (snow on orange leaves), making stops with less than a minutes notice for pictures, touring Opryland hotel in Nashville, seeing our family in Tennessee, writing the daily blog, exploring the Greenbrier, walking along the Inner Harbor at night in Baltimore, taking our time to see unplanned things and just spending time together on the road.

We've had a wonderful trip and enjoyed sharing it with friends and family. We feel so blessed to have been able to take the time to see our wonderful country. Everywhere we went, we found people accommodating and friendly. It makes us see clearly the diversity knitted together to make up our great land. Our plans are to see the remaining few states sometime in the near future - only 8 more to go!! Planning for the next trip will begin soon....We will let you know! :)

1 comment:

Randall said...

Sounds like a awesome trip. You are blessed to have the time to make such a trip before you are retirement age. You are also smart to take advantage of the down time and see our great country while it is still a free country (2 more months). You will able to tell your grandchildren stories of how you were able to travel without government permits and buy as much food as you wished. Seriously, it sounds like a GREAT trip and thanks for sharing it with us all.