Things You Should KnowU.S. Travel



After 14 years of near-consecutive Thanksgiving travel, I’m happy to report we finally have the key ingredient.  But more about that later …

This year’s trip took the hubby, son Sam and daughter Hannah to Vermont and Maine with flights in and out of Boston.  Add in New York and New Hampshire to the mix as these states have very peculiar boundaries (mostly crooked).  And, yes, we knew it would be cold in answer to many queries posed to four Southern Californians as to why there and at this time of year.

No, we didn’t see fall foliage, but we did experience some snow with mostly clear and quite cool weather the rest of the time. I’ll have to do one of those fall foliage trips when baseball no longer co-ops every October (i.e., a long time from now).  The good news is one stop on the next “big spring trip” is in New Zealand, where it is the fall season in May along with spectacular foliage there.  I look forward to that!

Hannah departed a few days ahead of us to spend extra time in Boston with a dear friend. We followed suit on the Saturday before Thanksgiving.  For our Boston overnight, it is clear the “North End” is absolutely thriving.  Every restaurant on Hanover Street was packed, including Bricco where we dined.  To their credit, they seated us promptly for our 9pm reservation.  People were still piling in when we left around 10:30.  Now, if we could have been spared the $30(!) valet charge.  And that’s paid upfront.  Below, perfect eggplant parm followed by seared ahi.

With Hannah rejoining us, we left Boston on Sunday for our first stop in Manchester, Vermont. The spectacular Green Mountains are a year-around destination.  The area is host to many outdoor activities, along with charming inns and restaurants, outlet stores and excellent roads.

Our snow encounter happened just prior to arriving in Manchester. Fortunately, the Nissan Rogue rental car came properly equipped and made the driving relatively easy. Our accommodations at The Kimpton Taconic Inn in Manchester were already booked when I saw it is ranked #3 of the 30 Best New England Hotels by Conde Nast Traveler.

 Above, the sitting room at the Taconic Inn

Dinner at Ye Olde Tavern in Manchester is as classic a New England spot if ever there was one .. below baked brie with apples; pumpkin soup; duck flamed tableside.

We ventured up to Burlington – Vermont’s largest city – along Lake Champlain. That was clearly the coldest day, maybe low 30’s.  Note the parking rates at the garage!  In Los Angeles, it seems like $1 per minute ..  Below, bundled up after lunch at Henry’s Diner (est. 1925).  Ever wonder what food pix look like AFTER?  We had classic diner food of course.

The photo of Lake Champlain below was taken as the sun was setting — about 4:30 pm!

Dinner at The Dorset Inn, just 10 minutes from Manchester, was a big hit. Mind you, many of the buildings date back to the 1700’s which add a great deal to their charm.  The food was delicious (as seen below):  Fennel salad with crispy shallots; Faroe Island salmon (Perhaps we were the only diners who have actually have been to the Faroes — read here); delicious carrot cake.

Stay tuned for Part 2 — there is much more to cover with lots of photos.  And, of course, the “key ingredient” will be revealed!