It was June of 2001. My first trip to the Northeast. My first real trip as an adult. I left my hometown of Whitewater, WI with two of my best friends and headed out for New York City and Boston in my 1991 Buick LeSabre. One week, a couple baseball games, a few mass transit mixups, and a speeding ticket later, we were back in the Midwest, but a new interest in travel was sparked on that trip that has shown little sign of waning.
Growing up, I had traveled extensively in the US with my parents, but the Northeast was conspicuously absent from our itineraries. Despite being a bit late to region, that first trip left an impression that would lead me back several times in the coming years.
Jessica was exposed to the Northeast a bit earlier than I was. She has childhood memories of the Statue of Liberty, a Broadway performance of The Lion King, and a drive through upstate New York to Montreal. Coincidentally, she was also in New York City in 2001 to help with relief work after the 9/11 attack.
Our first trip to the Northeast as a couple came two years later in the fall of 2003. My architecture studio participated in a design competition for a rowing club in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Greenpoint. I joined a few of my friends from the studio on a quick site visit, and Jessica, my relatively new girlfriend at the time, came along for the ride. We stuffed 6 people in a hotel room in Queens, scouted our plot on the East River, hit the top sights in Manhattan, and, after an interesting encounter with a stranger on the subway, told each other “I love you” for the first time over a picnic in Central Park. Oh, and I didn’t win the design competition.
Up to this point, we’ve never lived in the Northeast, but our visits over the years have given us a list of travel highlights in the area:
- Showcasing my complete inability to gracefully ride a moped in front of my in-laws onMartha’s Vineyard
- Celebrating our one year anniversary over a romantic dinner in the Flatiron District
- Introducing the imminent arrival of our second daughter to my parents on Cape Cod
- Experiencing the foundational history of our country on the Freedom Trail in Boston
- Hopping between Gilded Age mansions in Newport, RI
- Introducing our oldest daughter Caroline to a different linguistic culture in Quebec City (yes, Quebec is in the scope of our explorations…it’s one of our favorite spots in North America, and it is “Northeast” after all)
- Driving the wildly scenic Park Loop through Acadia National Park
- Walking the National Mall to Capitol Hill
When we heard the news late last year that we'd be relocating from Arizona to Connecticut, these memories came back to us and gave us reassurance about the move. Over the coming years, we look forward to digging in and exploring our new home. If we do leave someday, at the very least, we will leave with a host of new family memories.