The New England Loop
Last month I was over in New York so I wanted to take that opportunity to add some more states to my states-I’ve-been-to list. According to Google Maps, I would be able to do a loop through all six New England states and be back in NYC in time for dinner. I recruited my friend Rich to go with me so we got up bright and early one morning, took a cab to LaGuardia to rent a car, and away we went! It was only 24 miles up I-95 to get to the Connecticut border (state 30 for me), where we stopped for breakfast, then headed to New Haven and hooked a left on I-91 to head north to Hartford.
At mile 127 we crossed into Massachusetts (state 31). The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is just over the border in Springfield. It’s named for James Naismith, who invented basketball in 1891 while working at the Springfield YMCA.
I-91 basically follows the Connecticut River north of Hartford. I couldn’t help but think of Thoreau floating down the Merrimack whenever I caught sight of the river.
Pretty soon it started raining heavily.
It cleared before long, and we were left with awesome clouds.
Massacusetts only took about an hour to cross before we got to Vermont (state 32) at mile 183. The little town of Brattleboro looked like a nice place. The English first developed the area in 1724 when they built a fort to defend the Massacusetts Bay Colony from the Abenaki Missisquoi.
It had a lot of big churches for such a small town.
We took Highway 9 east out of town, and at mile 195 we crossed the Connecticut River into New Hampshire (state 33). Apparently someone in Brattleboro loves rust.
New Hampshire was so boring that we didn’t get any photos. That’s not very good Life Blasting… Eventually we made it back to I-95 and crossed the Salmon Falls River at mile 317 into Maine (state 34).
We drove down to the marina at Kittery Point to see what marine life in Maine was all about. It didn’t seem that different from Puget Sound.
We even spotted an honest-to-goodness New England lighthouse or two.
Cooler than the lighthouses was Fort McClary. Coastal defences were first built here by local shipbuilder William Pepperell 1689 and in 1715 the Massachusetts Bay Colony built a six gun breastwork on the site. It was established as a US fort in 1808 and named for Major Andrew McClary, who was killed in the Revolutionary War.
The fort was used during the War of 1812 and the Civil War, though it saw little action.
There is evidence, however, of that little action. There are pockmarks and craters all over the granite walls of the blockhouse. The fort fell into disrepair by the turn of the 20th century, though some of the buildings were used during World War II.
We were way behind schedule because of all the fun we were having, so we had to get back on the road and head down to Boston for dinner.
Growing up in the Seattle area, I was plenty familiar with the western terminus of I-90, but his was my first time encountering its eastern terminus. We then got a drink at an Irish pub in South Boston and Maine lobster at a Chinese restaurant in Chinatown. I didn’t think the lobster was all that special, but Rich loved it. Maybe it was because he’s Chinese.
After dinner we started the mad dash back to New York. We crossed into Rhode Island (state 35) at mile 428 and Rich couldn’t stop laughing as we passed by Pawtucket. He even called his wife Wendy and told her we were where they make Pawtucket Pete beer on Family Guy.
We crossed Connecticut again and completed the loop in New Haven, where we had gotten off I-95 that morning. We continued south through the Bronx, and finally crossed into Manhattan. We made it to Rich’s sister’s building on the Upper West Side at mile 611, with just enough time to get pizza and a beer before last call!