There is something rather marvelous about a road trip. Especially when they include good friends, great destinations and the best music along the way. While I’ve been lucky enough to experience several road trips in my lifetime, my most recent road trip adventure stands out as one of the best. It was an almost magical alignment; every piece of the puzzle seemed to work out just right. There was magic around every corner; more unexpected beauty with every state line we crossed. And in eight short days we crossed several items off the bucket list!
Starting Point: Nashville, TN. This road trip started off with an epic night of music including both Us The Duo and Pentatonix at the Bridgestone Arena. Nashville will always hold a special place in my heart, and this night the energy of Music City filled every crack and it was evident that an incredible journey was unfolding before us. And so the adventures began.
First stop: Columbus, Ohio; for yet another night of music. This time a smaller venue with a different vibe; A&R Music Bar. An open-air bar with mostly standing room. This left us close enough to the stage to take in every detail. While a completely different setting, American Authors provided yet another incredible concert experience! [#OhWhatALife] And the next morning we were back on the road again.
Next stop: Niagara Falls. A quick pit stop in Eerie, PA gave us a few hours to explore Presque Isle State Park. The park provided beautiful views of Lake Eerie with a lighthouse and multipurpose trail for a quick afternoon stroll. The lake felt more like home; probably something to do with the saltwater smell that filled the air or some other similar magic like that. We arrived at Niagara Falls by early afternoon with time to take a quick tour of the area. We stayed on the US side for a variety of reasons, mostly due to the lack of a passport on my part [a tragedy that has since been mended], but the falls were still breathtaking and the city has a unique vibe all its own to offer tourists. After a few hours to enjoy the falls, it was back in the car; no road trip is complete without several hours of a classic sing-along.
Next stop: Syracuse, NY. To be honest, upon arriving in this city there was some disappointment. However, we soon stumbled upon the hidden gems of Dinosaur BBQ and a game of Glowgolf to brighten the mood! I wouldn’t call myself a professional mini-golf player – I’m more like a weekend warrior – but I do enjoy the occasional round. We took a shot in the dark and gave this venue a try, located at none other than Destiny USA. Between the glow-in-the-dark animals and the psychedelic jungle in the background, this game of mini-golf certainly left us glowing. And after a lazy morning we were back on the road!
Next stop: New York City; because a travel bucket list isn’t complete without a few nights in NYC! We walked until I thought my feet were going to fall off, but managed to see The High Line, Times Square, Schmackary’s (#CookiesCanChangeTheWorld), M&M’s World and Central Park all in one day. As an introvert I had assumed the sights and sounds of the big city would prove somewhat over-stimulating; however much to my surprise the heartbeat of this city only served as a spark for my fire. How could you not leave this place, full of magic and music and love, without a heart full of dreams and a soul on fire? And, of course, with #redfeathermagic on board we had to include some Peter Pan along the way. Thankfully, Finding Neverland was fated to be my first Broadway show and our final big adventure in NYC before we departed for our next destination the following morning. An impeccable reminder that the world is full of unexpected magic; if you can only remember to listen and believe the whispers in the bottom of your heart. And a reminder to always keep playing in your imagination; no matter your age. After passing by Josh Gad, also known as Olaf, on the way back to the subway, it seemed the universe was determined to make us notice the pleasant surprises hiding in every second. A morning brunch in Manhattan and we were on our way again!
Next Stop: Boston, MA. We had both spent time in Boston on previous trips, so for this trip it was simply a quick stop to say hello to friends before we completed the final part of our trek to Maine. And we managed to squeeze in a quick trip to Salem on the way out of town with a visit to the Salem Witch Museum. Because you can never have too many spontaneous adventures along the way. Salem is a town with a peculiar atmosphere; you can travel from historical landmarks to tourist shops in a matter of seconds simply by walking next door.
“Life is a journey, not a destination.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson
Final Destination: Maine. Portland immediately moved to the top of my “favorites” list, along with Seattle, Nashville and now Belfast, UK. It was love at first sight when I laid eyes on the incredible selection of donuts offered at The Holy Donut (they could create world peace, you guys. I’m convinced. Especially the Allen’s Coffee Brandy donut). Not to mention the cobblestone streets found in the Old Port lined with shops and the beautiful waterfront. We spent an entire afternoon wandering in, around and through stores full of the best trinkets – and we even found a few pet stores along the way! Our last day in Maine included a quick trip through Belfast to see the waterfront and for a tattoo I had been dreaming about for years (another one of those meant-to-be-moments; #NoSuchThingAsCoincidence #TheBestSouvenir). A reminder of what’s important and the endless possibilities each moment has to offer; maybe more on that later.
While all road trips come to an end, our trip of a lifetime would not have been complete without an amazing sunrise on the beach in Scarborough [I could have stayed in this tiny infinity forever], breakfast at the diner and one final stop at The Holy Donut on the way to the airport. And yes, in case you were wondering, I did bring a box of donuts home in my luggage.
Over and Out,