Anyone I've spoken with over the last two months knows that my current consulting gig has been fairly insane. While it's quieted down a bit over the last three weeks, the first six in the role were ridiculous - long hours, stresses, and often feeling a little chained to my laptop. Of course part of that comes with the territory, but with Covid, waking up and working from your bedroom desk for 11 - 14 hours started to drag me down. All of this to say, I was ready for a couple days off.
Lynn and I took Thursday and Friday off and we turned it into a five day adventure, meeting up with my friends in Connecticut, and knocking another state off my list by exploring New Hampshire for four nights in a beautiful Airbnb.
We left New York City on Tuesday after work on a train. Don't worry - Penn Station was basically empty, the Amtrak train was clean, and there were hardly any passengers. I ended up working the entire 1.5 hour, mask-wearing ride (thank goodness for Amtrak Wifi) until we arrived in New Haven, CT.
Dominic and Jen, my old roommates from Connecticut days and favourite dog parents, picked us up and we all went for Tuesday night beers and pizza in the pizza capital of the US - New Haven. For those of you who think that's a joke, look it up. New Haven is the home of Yale University and definitely claims itself as slinging the best pies in the nation.
After dinner and catching up - Lynn hadn't met them yet - we took the 35 minute drive back to East Hampton, CT and spent the night at Dom and Jen's house.
Wednesday turned out to be another busy day at work. Jen left to teach her students in Hartford at 6am, while I went on a run in the morning around the neighbourhood, then came back to where Lynn, Dom and I all logged on and grinded it out.
Around 5pm, we piled into their SUV, packed up our bags and Pokey the dog, and headed north on I-91 towards the Canadian Border. We picked up groceries and some booze along the way to be stocked up at our Airbnb, and by 9:30pm we pulled into Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. You may have heard of this tiny ski resort town as it was made famous by hosting the Bretton Woods Economic Forum at the famous White Mountain Resort Hotel after World War 2. After arriving, we made some tacos, crushed a bottle of wine, and went to bed.
It was amazing to wake up on Thursday morning without the need to immediately check my phone or get online. Instead I threw on a podcast, and headed out in the cool morning to explore the area on a run. I ran by the famous hotel, around the ski lodge, and back to the condo for a 7-mile journey. When I got back, we all crushed a bagel (we brought NY bagels from the city for the trip) then headed out to explore.
It was essential to have Jen's experience - growing up in New England, she visited New Hampshire nearly every year so knew her way around the area like the back of her hand. This was especially key when we drove up through the mountains or through narrow back roads with basically zero cell service.
As you can expect, New England in the fall is one of nature's tastiest treats. While it makes me feel very old bragging about foliage, it was quite the sight to see. The pictures don't quite do it justice.
After doing the Drive over the Kanc, we slid into Woodstock, NH and stopped for a lovely patio lunch at a brewery where we clearly had to order flights and taste all of their samples. 20 beers on the table at 12:30pm is a little odd, but it was a great time on the foliage calendar!
After the beers and veggie burger settled, we embarked on a hike through the Flume Gorge - about a 1.5 hour hike through waterfalls that poured through the gorge formed millions of years ago as granite broke apart. Pretty stunning really.
When we left the gorge, still energized by the hike and our first day of vacation, we stopped at the Riverwalk Resort and experienced a wine tasting overlooking the pool, and again, more mountains.
We finally got back to the condo and had a really enjoyable early evening on our patio before heading to a tasty restaurant in Glen, NH (no idea where any of these places were).
Friday morning we woke up and it started very similarly. Run (check out me as a speck on the ski hill we could see from our balcony), bagel, explore. It was a bit more of a rainy day, so we headed into North Conway to a BBQ place for lunch that also makes its own beer at Moat Brewery. Usually not a vegan's delight, I had a delicious veggie wrap with an outrageous amount of fries, and their signature IPA.
We drove around a bit more, admired more foliage, and ultimately headed back home where Jen created a magical vegan chili for our casual dinner. We finally entered the condo's basement to play the arcade games and battle in air hockey before heading to bed - again, we're old.
Saturday we woke up to a ridiculous surprise - the power was out, the heat was off, and it had snowed about six inches overnight. Quite the contrast. It created the perfect atmosphere for a quiet morning in and we all took full advantage, reading and chilling in the living room until the Arsenal match came on (the power was restored by 10am). After the match, we headed into North Conway around 3pm for some coffees and to stroll through the town and into a few shops that weren't too swamped with Covid. The mask penetration in rural New Hampshire is drastically different than the East Village of Manhattan :)
After one last grocery and beer run, we got home, BBQ'd some Impossible and Beyond burgers, had some tasty wine and beers, some friendly debates, more air hockey battles, and finally got to bed by 1am. While the most fun, it wasn't the smartest to keep our latest night til the last. One day I'll learn.
Sunday wrapped up with another bagel before the what seemed like way longer drive home.
Ultimately, I came home much more rested from the trip and was so grateful that three of my favourite people got on so well, our plans worked out so wonderfully, and the jokes and laughter will never be forgotten. While Covid has stopped me from getting on planes and probably exploring more far-out places like Europe or Vegas, it's been a good reminder that I already live in a cool part of the country and it's always worth exploring your local areas.
Hope you're all well and staying safe. If you made it this far, thanks for reading!