Month Fifty Two was an action packed month – although I was working full time hours most of the month, I somehow also managed to travel to eight states!
The month was split into two – with the first half being all about routine and relaxation in Denver, with the second half seeing me back on the road.
I enjoyed my time in Denver and I think I really needed to chill for a bit. During this time I also caught up with friends and family, went for long walks around Wash Park, hiked with my beautiful cousin Anita, sat and passed my written and driving tests, and even went into the office for a couple of days (I much prefer working remotely).
And then I started my crazy travel schedule for the last half of the month.
I flew to Vegas first, where Toby had already been for a week working. During my four nights there I went to Rise Lantern Festival and to see Love by Cirque du Soleil, went out to dinner with Toby and all his workmates, worked hard in the room during weekdays, hung out at the pool, and finally made it to Eataly.
I’m not a big fan of Vegas but I always try to make the most of my stay there, and I think I did a good job of it this time.
From Vegas we flew on a very short night flight to Boston, the first stop of our ten day New England trip.
We spent one night and 1.5 days in Boston, then we picked up our rental car and traveled down to Newport for our cousin Jason’s wedding. As well as the wedding – which was a lot of fun despite the bad weather – we caught up with family a couple more times for lunch and dinner, and fit in some Newport exploring too.
After Newport, we headed out on our one week road trip through New England!
We headed north, up the coast to Portland in Maine, stopping along the way in Salem, Portsmouth, and Ogunquit. From Portland we drove inland to New Hampshire, over the beautiful Kancamagus Highway to Woodstock, then up through Franconia Notch and into Vermont.
The weather turned once we hit Vermont but we still enjoyed our time driving around the tiny but beautiful state.
After a quick stop in the over-touristy Stockbridge, we drove straight through to Sturbridge so we could go to Old Sturbridge Village, a recreated New England Village set between 1790 and 1830.
We loved the village – it was the best recreated historical village I have ever been to, and I have been to a lot.
Then it was back to Boston for another night, and this time the sun was out and it was actually quite warm. We spent hours wandering around Boston – it’s a great city for that – then went for dinner in Chinatown.
Toby left early the next morning to fly back to Denver, but my bus to New York wasn’t until midday so I had a lovely morning in Back Bay before boarding the bus.
After massive delays – more on that in the lowlights – I finally arrived in New York.
Dani met me at DeKalb Market Hall for dinner then we had a night at a high rise apartment in downtown Brooklyn with incredible city views where she was housesitting, then we moved to her place in Crown Heights the next day.
My last couple of days of the month were spent in New York, which was just as much fun as usual.
What a month!
Now onto the Stats.
Countries Visited: USA
- Colorado: Denver, Golden, Boulder
- Nevada: Las Vegas
- Massachusetts: Boston, Salem, Newburyport, Stockbridge, Sturbridge
- Rhode Island: Newport, Provincetown
- New Hampshire: Portsmouth, North Woodstock
- Maine: Ogunquit, Portland
- Vermont: Stowe, Peacham, Montpelier, Burlington, Manchester, Bennington
- New York: New York City
National Parks and Monuments Visited: Boston National Historical Park
Islands Visited: Peirce Island and Four Trees Island in Portsmouth, Manhattan in NYC
Best Meal: SOOO many incredible meals this month! Margherita pizza from Kaos Pizzeria in Denver; Baked scallops with garlic smashed potatoes at Brick Alley Pub and Restaurant in Newport; Hot Lobster roll from Sea Level Oyster Bar in Newburyport; Boiled lobster dinner with clam chowder and fries from Cape Pier Chowder House in Maine; Sweet Potato Ravioli in a red pepper cream sauce from Woodstock Inn and Brewery in New Hampshire; Chicken schnitzel with sauerkraut and spaetzle from Von Trapp Bierhall and Brewery in Vermont; Margherita pizza from Juliana’s in Brooklyn; Empanadas and vege dumplings from DeKalb Market Hall in Brooklyn.
Worst Meal: Fish balls from a Dim sum restaurant in Boston – the texture, the smell and the taste was all kinds of wrong.
Best Craft Beer: I had a few good beers this month but a couple that stood out were the Ruby Slippers Raspberry Sour by Woodland Farms Brewery and the Peach Tart by Tree House Brewing Company – both sour and delicious.
- Clear Creek Trail in Golden, Colorado 2 miles/3.2km
- Gregory Canyon, Rangeview and Flagstaff trail loop in Boulder, Colorado 3.6 miles/5.8km
- Horseshoe trail in Golden Gate Canyon State Park, Colorado 5 miles/8km
- Flume Gorge loop trail in New Hampshire 2 miles/3.2km
Reading: What I was Doing While you Were Breeding by Kristin Newman. A funny travel memoir by a sitcom writer who would do one big international trip a year.
Watching: I may or may not have binge-watched five seasons of The Affair during my two weeks housesitting – OK I did. I kinda got addicted even though the two main characters annoyed the hell out of me, there is just so much drama and I really liked the different viewpoints and memories about how things went down.
Seeing the Black Keys
I have been wanting to see the Black Keys live for a long time – it is one of the only bands that Toby and I both love so I got us tickets for his birthday present. Although the sound wasn’t great for Modest Mouse, who were the warm up band, luckily the Black Keys sounded great and we loved the show.
Passing my Driving Test
I had been putting off sitting my driving tests for Colorado for months as I was nervous I might fail. Even though I have been driving for a long time, it has been 16 years since I sat my driving test in New Zealand and I know that you can fail easier than you would think.
I did fail my written test the first time but luckily was able to sit it again straight away, and I passed it the second time. I passed my driving test easily which was a huge relief. I celebrated with brunch at Sassafras in Golden and a walk along Clear Creek.
Relaxing in Denver
I loved my two weeks house and petsitting for friends in Wash Park – I used that time to actually get into a routine again. I cooked a lot, walked the dog around Wash Park most days, went hiking, caught up on work, read, and watched a lot of TV. It was pretty awesome and recharged me for my next bout of travel.
A Weekend of Hiking with my Cousin
I spent my last weekend in Denver before leaving again for three weeks hiking with my cousin Anita – on Saturday in Boulder hiking Gregory Canyon, and on Sunday hiking in stunning Golden Gate Canyon State Park where the aspens were on point.
One of my favorite things about living in Colorado is all the opportunities for hiking and being outdoors, so it was great to spend the whole weekend doing just that.
Releasing Lanterns at Rise Festival in Las Vegas
When me and Dad went to Rise Festival when Toby was working last year, the lantern launch ended up being canceled only a half hour before it was meant to happen, so I was very keen to go back this year to try again.
This time the weather was perfect, and seeing the lanterns rising up into the dark night sky for the first time was incredible – I may have even cried a bit.
It was definitely harder than I realised to get them up and floating – and sometimes it involved running along beside them, pushing them and trying not to catch other people on fire. When you finally did get it up though, it made the experience so much sweeter.
Seeing Two Incredible Live Shows
I got to see two awesome shows this month – Love by Cirque du Soleil in Vegas, and Come From Away in New York. Love was absolutely enthralling and we even got an upgrade, getting to sit a couple of rows back from the front which really made you feel like you were amongst the action. I loved it! The music was all The Beatles who I love, and the show was just incredibly well done.
Come From Away was also so good! I had heard the true story it is based on years ago, and it just gives you warm fuzzies, especially with all the bad things going on in the world at the moment. It was simply done but I was thoroughly entertained, I cried and laughed loads, and I left with a massive smile on my face and an urge to go to Newfoundland now more than ever before.
If you don’t know the story behind Come From Away – read this article.
Returning to Boston
I loved Boston the first time I visited five years ago, and I loved it just as much this time around too. I ended up spending a day and a half when we flew in, then another day and a half when we returned our rental car, and we squeezed in as much sightseeing as we could during that time.
We went to historic spots along the Freedom Trail, wandered through Boston Common and the cobblestone streets of Beacon Hill, we ate clam chowder at Quincy Market, Pho in Chinatown and Italian food in the North End. On my last day I strolled through tony Back Bay, admiring the beautiful architecture. It was a great second visit to a beautiful and historic city that I love.
Attending a Family Wedding in Newport
Toby’s cousin Jason got married in Newport, Rhode Island so we rented a car from Boston and drove down there with my brother-in-law Flip. A few other family members came too so we had a really fun time, catching up with everyone, eating great food and dancing our butts off.
I loved spending more time with family the next day too, with a big group lunch in Newport, then dinner in Providence.
Toby and I had a morning in Newport by ourselves before hitting the road again, and I enjoyed walking around and gawking at all the historic buildings and pretty town squares and parks, and driving scenic Ocean Drive.
Eating all the Seafood on the East Coast
Much like in Louisiana, seafood is king along the East Coast, and we definitely ate a lot of it during our trip!
Baked garlic scallops, hot buttered lobster rolls, lobster pie, boiled lobster dinners, mussels in white wine and garlic, peel and eat shrimp, fish and chips, and clam chowder were all highlights of our time on the coast – it was some of the best eating I have done in a long time.
Gorgeous Fall Colors Along the Kanc Highway and Beyond
We may have missed the peak of the fall colors in northern Vermont, but we couldn’t have asked for better colors for the day we drove the famous Kancamagus Highway in New Hampshire – in fact the hostel receptionist said it was the best they have seen the colors in years!
As much as I love the aspens in Colorado when they turn golden, it is hard to beat the reds and oranges of fall in the east coast, and the Kanc Highway is one of the best places to experience it – especially when you get a blue sky day like we did. We stopped loads to do short hikes and take pictures at viewpoints so we definitely made the most of it too.
There were also fabulous colors in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maine and southern Vermont, and I felt so lucky to experience fall in New England for the second time in my life.
Staying in an Alpine Inn in Stowe
I loved Stowe when I visited on my first New England trip back in 2012 so I was excited to return. Unfortunately this time the weather wasn’t so great but we really enjoyed our time there anyway – mostly because we stayed at a cool old Ski Lodge with a jacuzzi.
There’s nothing like soaking in a jacuzzi when it’s cold outside, and the view of the mountains and colorful trees was brilliant.
We also went for dinner at the Von Trapp Bierhall and Brewery – the real Von Trapp family (Sound of Music) emigrated to Vermont from Austria and opened a Ski Lodge, then a few years ago they opened the Bierhall too, and they do excellent Austrian/German food and craft lagers there.
Exploring the Past at Old Sturbridge Village
Love me a recreated historic village and Old Sturbridge Village is possibly the best one I have ever been to! It is so detailed, with actors in costume in each building demonstrating things like shoemaking, baking, farming, blacksmithing and more. The village is beautiful too.
Unfortunately we had to rush around a bit to make sure we got the car back to Boston on time but we managed to see pretty much everything, and I highly recommend it if you like learning what life was like for early settlers.
Another Great Trip to New York
I may not want to live in New York City, but I sure love visiting – and this short trip was another great one. We did a photo shoot in Central Park (have you noticed my new profile picture – thanks Dani!), ate lots of delicious pizza, I tried Georgian food for the first time, we went to see the excellent Come From Away Musical, and went to the interesting Museum of the City of New York.
I ended up in New York twice this year, and can definitely see another visit on the cards for next year – maybe in winter this time as it is the only season I haven’t visited in yet.
A Night Flight and no Sleep
Our flight from Vegas to Boston was only 4.5 hours, but because of the time difference, we left at 10.30pm and arriving at 5.30am. I can’t sleep on flights anyway and felt like absolute crap for most of the day we had in Boston due to the lack of sleep. I did have a little nap and we still got out and explored but obviously not in a good state.
Salem was a Shit Show
I really liked Salem the first time I went, although I did find cashing in on the witch trials notoriety to be very tacky. This time around we very unfortunately visited on a weekend, which means it was ridiculously crowded due to the Halloween Festival that happens every weekend in October. It was pretty gross and over the top and I couldn’t wait to get out of there.
The Cryptozoology Museum was a Bust
I love weird museums and attractions, so the Cryptozoology Museum in Portland sounded right up my alley. Unfortunately, it was very disappointing and frankly quite boring. They somehow made the pseudoscience of Cryptozoology – the study of hidden or unknown animals – a complete snorefest. That takes some doing.
There was nothing actually substantial there that could make you think that these animals existed, only bad photocopies of supposed cryptid photos, sad replica models of cryptids, and a whole lot of other stupid shit.
Missing Peak Fall Colors in Vermont
It can be hard to time the fall colors in New England, as it changes every year. We were lucky to see peak color on the Kancamagus Highway, but when we traveled further north into Vermont, there were a lot of bare trees. You can’t win them all.
Freezing Weather in New England
My god, it was cold when we arrived in Boston after the hot weather in Vegas! Luckily I had packed my winter coat but at times the cold wind felt like it was slicing through me. It wasn’t freezing everywhere we went in New England, but at least half our time there was in the cold.
Not Having Time for Upstate New York
I have never been to Upstate New York so I was hoping that I would be able to on this trip. I realised pretty quickly that I was being over ambitious and we had to cut it. As we only had one week, the fact that I was working – albeit only 20 hours that week for that week – and there being so much else to see, it just wasn’t feasible.
I will definitely have to do a separate trip there another year.
Ripped off on the Tolls in our Rental Car
We generally don’t take toll roads, but we decided to take the one into Boston on our last day with the car so that we could spend more time at Old Sturbridge Village.
Unfortunately we didn’t realise until after that in using the toll pass, we would be charged an additional daily fee – so our extra 45 minutes at the village ended up costing us $30. Oh well – you live, you learn.
Super Long Bus Trip Between Boston and New York
The bus trip between Boston and New York was meant to take four hours – it ended up taking six and a half. There were crashes and bad weather, which just kept adding more time to the already long trip, and I definitely had cabin fever by the time I arrived.
Finding out that Toby’s NZ Visa was Going to Take too Long to Process
When Toby put his visa application in for New Zealand a couple of months ago, we were under the impression that it would take around two months to process, which meant he would hear back and hopefully get it around the time I am leaving to Australia. But then when he rung to follow up – he was told that it would in fact be FIVE months.
That wasn’t going to work for us as I already had my flights to New Zealand and we had only planned to stay a couple of months, so we changed our plans. Now I am just spending one month in New Zealand visiting friends and family in the North Island, and will then be meeting Toby in Southeast Asia.
It was a bummer but I am excited to be returning to Thailand, and going to a new to me country – Laos – so it wasn’t all bad.
Month Fifty Two was pretty similar to Month Fifty One in terms of spending. Again, like last month, I was living large and enjoying the fruits of all my hard work – working a full time job remotely as well as managing my own VA business. I will go back to my more frugal ways next month as my temp job is finishing at the end of October and I will be back to making a lot less.
My paid accommodation this month consisted of two nights in a hostel dorm in Boston, two nights at a motel in Newport for the wedding, one night in a private room at a hostel in North Woodstock, four nights in various motels in New England, and one night in a mountain lodge in Vermont.
For the rest of the month, I spent 12 nights housesitting in Denver, four nights in the Luxor Hotel in Vegas which was covered by Toby’s work, three nights at a friend’s place in New York City, and one night on an overnight flight between Vegas and Boston.
Food and Drink $1044.50
Although I didn’t spend a lot during my two weeks in Denver, I ate out for every meal during the two weeks I was on the road, and we went out for drinks a lot too. Also, when we were on the east coast we were eating a lot of lobster and other seafood, which was totally worth the splurge.
- Otter socks $11
- Silk sock liners $14
- Black shawl $15
- Summer dress $20
- Gas $70
- Ubers $52
- Denver Public Transport $9
- Lime Scooters $3
- Flight from Denver to Las Vegas $93.50
- Shuttle from Rise Festival to Las Vegas Strip $30
- Flight from Las Vegas to Boston $100
- Car Hire for nine days $140 (my half)
- Parking $5
- Bus Boston to NYC $20
- Ticket to Black Keys and Modest Mouse $75
- Golden Gate Canyon State Park Entry Fee $8
- Beatles Love by Cirque du Soliel $89
- Cryptozoology Museum $10
- Flume Gorge Entrance $16
- Old Sturbridge Village $25.50
- 2 x Tickets to Come From Away in NYC $147.50
- Toiletries $66.50
- Gifts $97
- Phone $40
- Hulu $6
- Mirrorless Camera $165 (Toby paid the other $200 for my birthday)
- Lens Adaptor – DSLR to Mirrorless $46
- Halloween costume $20
- Written and Driving tests for Colorado Driving Licence $115
- Dress Hemmed $25
- Washing $2.50
- Lock for locker $2.50
- Necklace $26.50
- Travel pillow $8
- Toiletry Bag $6
- Phone charger $5
Website Costs $12
- Monthly payment for Keysearch $12
Van Costs $0
Luckily Casper behaved himself this month.
What’s in Store for Next Month
Month Fifty Three will be another crazy travel month – the theme for the next six months!
I will have one more day in New York before flying back to Denver for six nights, where I will be finishing off my temping job, packing, and doing all the last minute prepping for six months away.
But it won’t be all work and errands – we will also be going to the Halloween light show Glow at the Gardens at the Botanical Gardens, and attending Fo and Afor’s Annual Halloween Party.
From Denver I will flying to Hawaii and spending two nights in Waikiki to break up the trip, before flying to Sydney for a week visiting friends, and some of my favorite places from when I lived there.
The rest of the month will be spent in New Zealand, where I will now mostly be visiting friends and family in the North Island as Toby won’t be joining me anymore.
I will be splitting my time between Auckland, Matakana, Tauranga, Hamilton, Rotorua and Cambridge, and I’m looking forward to having a bit of a breather from fast-paced travel and sightseeing.
But of course, I won’t just be sitting at home – I think you all know me better than that. There will be museum visits, lots of eating of delicious foods (I need to update my Auckland Cheap Eats Guide!), hikes, beach walks and more.
It’s going to be another good one!
To read additional Monthly Round Ups, you can find them here