Portland Head Light, most photographed lighthouse in Maine.

As lame as it sounds, I’ve always wanted to go to Maine. It’s not a metropolitan place, its more of a wilderness and that’s just the kind of thing that suits me. I’m happy with a little ocean, a little rocky beach, a few lighthouses and the chance to spot a moose – as long as I’m safely in a car or somewhere the moose can’t get me. Sunday morning around 8 a.m., I finally got to see Maine.

The only bad part of the trip is that we only had time to venture in to see one lighthouse, grab a lobster roll and start bookin’ it back to DC. We were in a race to get back before the Metro stopped running.

After getting some tips from the best welcome center worker ever, we plotted a trip to go up to see the most photographed lighthouse and then stop to walk along some cliffs and see another lighthouse on our way back out of the state. We were all so amazed — and frozen — at the first lighthouse that we spent too much time there and didn’t leave ourselves enough time to stop again on our way back to the District.

We did stop for lunch at Becky’s Diner, featured in publications from “Roadfood” to “Esquire.” My travelmates enjoyed the lobster and crab. I enjoyed my burger.

Becky’s Diner

In our original map, we were going to swing back through Vermont on our way back. But like we had to sacrifice cliff-walking, we also had to sacrifice adding the last New England state to my count. We just didn’t have an extra hour to spend seeing another state. But, this trip, like my Gypsy Trip over the summer, gave me a taste of some new areas I want to go back to. Sometime in 2011, I’m heading back up the East Coast. Next time, I’ll have more than two days to cover 700-plus miles up the coast. And I will get to see the Liberty Bell in Philly.

My travelmates:



Uncharted territory

Providence, R.I. Capitol. It took up half the state.

All the fist pumping really kind of messed things up for us going into Jersey. I kind of started ignoring Sh’niqua (the navigation system in my Android) and ended up missing the exit for the Jersey Turnpike. But, after a quick detour through Camden, we were back on our way.

Fun fact about Jersey Danielle dug up on Wikipedia: It’s the doughnut capital of the world. When someone says “America runs on Dunkin’,” what they actually mean is “Jersey runs on Dunkin’.” Of course we stopped at a Dunkin’ Donuts for an afternoon snack and quizzed an employee. She had no idea if Jersey was the doughnut capital of the world and seemed to think we were crazy for asking.
The second leg of our journey brought me to places I haven’t been before. New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts were all new experiences for me. I tried not to let Jersey Shore influence my opinion of the state, but still, I think I’ll be OK if I don’t ever see it again.
Connecticut was nice when we passed through, but it was getting dark. We didn’t get to see much until we came back through Sunday afternoon. Hartford was a beautiful city.
It was dark by the time we got to Rhode Island, but the smell alone was enough to forgive the itty bitty place for not being big enough to really be called a state. The entire state – all two square miles of it – smelled of pine. It was a great, fresh scent. The only thing we really saw was the capitol in Providence. As capitols go, it was pretty impressive.
Our original plan was to stop over in Boston for dinner and take a little time to explore the city. But that plan didn’t allow for us not arriving to the home of the Sox until 11 p.m. We couldn’t find parking for less than $15 – one garage was charging $27 for the night – so we illegally parked in a handicapped spot next to the capitol, took a few pictures and headed to Salem, Mass.
Salem is about an hour from Boston and an hour from Manchester, N.H., where we had reservations to stay the night. The drive to Salem wasn’t bad, and the town was charming, even though we were all waiting for the Sanderson sisters to fly down the street at any moment. The drive between Salem and Manchester was a little more interesting. We’d been in the car for about 15 hours at this point, and I was tired. We couldn’t get to that hotel fast enough.

50 in 30

There are two kinds of perks with this internship: work and non-work. These are very technical titles, so pay close attention to the following descriptions.
Work perks are the kind of everyday perks one experiences as a reporter in Washington D.C. These are things like being able to go to the White House. Non-work perks are just about everything else. These include just living in DC and the general proximity to other eastern states.

I want to see all 50 states before I turn 30 on July 14, 2015. At the start of this internship I had about four years and 20 states to go. After the East Coast Extravaganza two weekends ago, the magic number is down to 13.

The first leg of our trip took though four states I had already seen before. We started in Virginia, where we picked up our rental car, passing through Maryland and Delaware to get to Philadelphia. I wasn’t particularly thrilled to go through Delaware again, but we passed through Wilmington and realized that there is a metropolitan area in the state after all. It turned out access to the Atlantic Ocean isn’t the only good thing about Delaware.
Pat’s Philly Cheesesteaks

Our first stop came in Philadelphia, where the four of us split between Pat’s and Gino’s to decide for ourselves who has the better Philly cheesesteak sandwich. My vote went to Geno’s because it had less fat on the meat. But the surprising thing was that as detesting as cheese whiz sounds, it was better than provolone. I wonder if Penn Station back home will whip me up a Philly wit’ whiz and wit’out onions? 

An interesting side note about one of the differences between the two cheesesteak restaurants, Geno’s still calls their fries “freedom fries.” Also, according to a friend of Ray’s (fellow intern/road warrior) who lives in Philly, they will not serve you if you order in Spanish. She tried it once and was denied service.

Better steaks, bigger political statements.

Danielle’s quest for postcards and mine for magnets led us to the first stock exchange in the country. The main floor had been converted into a tourist haven with miniatures of the liberty bell stuffed in about every corner. Sadly, these miniatures are as close as we got to the real Liberty Bell. With souvenirs in hand, we crossed the bridge, fist pumping our way into Jersey.

Road Trip: East Coast Extravaganza

Danielle and I are taking to the road again, this time with two more interns, Raymundo and Adam. As soon as the first train leaves Woodley Park, we’re headed up the East Coast to Maine.

Although this trip won’t have the epic proportions of the Gypsy Trip, it does have some notable statistics nonetheless. We’ll be covering about 1,500 miles in two days. Its about a 10 hour drive to Maine from the District, but with side trips we’ll be in transit about 12 hours each day. But my most favorite statistic: We’ll be covering 12 states in 48 hours. We’ll see Virginia, Maryland, Deleware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont. I’ll be adding a whopping seven more states to my count! 
We’ve talked about making a video with stories written by each of us to put out on the wire. And we’ve discussed a mockumentary that would have nothing to do with the Foundation’s wire.
I’m not sure what we’ll end up with, but rest assured there will be antoher behind the scenes of the road trip after we’ve finished the video. We’ll also be Tweeting and updating Facebook along the way. (When/If we designate a hash tag, I’ll post it here and to Facebook. You can follow @CassieLynnStone or @DanielleAlberti to get the updates.