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New England Road Trip | Our Life

We were going to photograph a wedding in Thousand Islands, New York on Friday all day and decided to make a road trip/mini vacation out of it!

We began our trip on the day before the wedding on Thursday. It was late October, and from the DC area it is approximately an 8 hour drive to Thousand Islands. So for this first day we were set to hit the road and spend a full day taking in the fall colors that North East America has to offer this time of year.

We headed north that morning making our way into Pennsylvania. The first leg of the drive was fairly routine for us as we have made the trip through northern Maryland many times. Our first stop was at Hershey’s Chocolate World. Now into uncharted territory, this tourist stop served as both a place for us to stretch our legs for a minute and for grapping a couple cool pics to begin documenting the road trip. It was a slow mid-week time at Hershey and the roller coaster park appeared to be closed, but we made way to the famous “Chocolate World” gift shop. Our stop here at Hershey was brief as we were eager to hit the road knowing we had a long drive ahead of us and wanted to do as much of it as we could before nightfall.

The next several hours are arguably some of the most memorable hours I have spent in a car! The fall colors were indescribable! We took our time driving and stop frequently to do our best to capture the sight. Some things are almost too vast and too brilliant to capture through a lens. This felt like one of those times. Miles and miles of bright oranges, reds, and browns of all different shades and shapes was so much to take in. With each turn we went around or each hill we ascended, it seemed to only reveal brighter colors and longer stretches of Autumn. All day we soaked it up being sure to leave our sunglasses in the console to be sure we did not tint the brilliance!

We were very thankful for the full day of sunshine to enjoy our long drive, but eventually the dark came, followed by rains that grew quite heavy. Somewhere between Syracuse, NY and Watertown, NY we made a pit stop to get new wiper blades to keep up with it!

Later that night we made it to the 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel where we were staying (Which is also the location of the wedding we were to photograph the next day) and got all checked in. It is a very lovely hotel right on the St. Lawrence River that separates the U.S. and Canada. Before hitting the hay, we wanted to grab a bite to eat. We decided on a local brewery called the Wood Boat Brewery. One of our favorite things to do when we travel is to try local breweries. We find that this is a great way to stay away from commercial chains and try a local restaurant. The great thing about breweries is that almost every town (no matter how big or small) has local breweries, they always do a great job of embodying the local vibe of wherever you are, and you can’t beat the home cooked American fare that you find at a good brewery (i.e. burgers!). Unfortunately, we got to the Wood Boat a tad late and they had just finished closing down their kitchen for the day… However, they were not about to let a chance to show their “small-town neighborliness” slip by them. They were so nice and made us a couple of appetizers to enjoy even though the kitchen had already closed!

Being tired and now having our hunger sated, we went back to our room and called it a night.

Friday morning came all too quickly! But we were excited for the wedding and got up and going early to scout out the venue for good photo spots. We found a some awesome ones! Unfortunately it was still raining, putting a little bit of a damper on our ability to fully use the areas outside and around the hotel. Determined not to get discouraged of course, we made the best of what we had and it turned out lovely later that day! Once we had a good handle on the venue and what our plan was, we had a couple hours of time to explore the town and area along the St. Lawrence River. We grabbed a coffee and some breakfast at the Koffee Kove and ventured off to explore. Despite the gloomy and wet morning, we were still awestruck by the beautiful fall foliage that was popping out everywhere we looked. We went along the river and tried to peak our camera lenses through the fog to get some pictures of the “Thousand Islands” that were scattered throughout the river. They say that this area boasts over 1,800 islands of different sizes all stuck between the mainlands of the U.S. and Canada. Even some castles were visible on the shores of a couple islands!

Well our time exploring passed quickly and we made our way back to the Harbor Hotel to get ready for the wedding. Friends and family of the couple arrived and the venue became busier and busier. We stayed busy capturing the moments that Nick and Emily (the Bride and Groom. Eek!) spent getting all dressed up prepped for the ceremony. The time and efforts put into this day were evident by looking at how beautiful all the decorations and details were.

As the ceremony approached, Nick and Emily took part in a very special first look outside under the eaves of the hotel while the rain continued to fall. The first look was followed by inviting their families and wedding party outside to join them for pictures! Several umbrellas were used during this process to keep everyone’s hair and makeup (and cameras) in good working order ;).

The ceremony had Nick and Emily’s fingerprints all over it! An elegance and beauty that was chalk full of personality. Fun songs and silly faces put a smile on each and every person’s face that was in the room. These two even decided to buck the trend and when the time came to say “I do”, found creative way to use totally different words staying true to the infusion of personality in this ceremony.

Next on to everyone’s favorite part of a wedding day… the reception! Opened by a choreographed dance that the bridal party surprised the bride and groom with, this reception lasted deep into the night with many hours of dancing and laughing. We even gave the dancing a try ourselves! (Glad there wasn’t anyone taking photos of that!).

Phew. Tired again at the end of another full day, we departed the few lingering dancers and headed to our room for some shut-eye.

The next morning at 5:00am we were up and at ‘em! Our goal was to leave before daybreak and set course to Montreal, Canada. With a little over three hours of driving to go, we were pleased by the signs of better weather ahead. Our groggy morning slowly morphed into a morning full of conversation (one of our favorite things about road tripping together).

We arrived in Montreal just in time for breakfast and another restaurant (one of the best parts of traveling no doubt!). This one was called Cora, a breakfast diner that specialized in all different sorts of crapes. We had a good time listening to all of the customers speaking French (not understanding a word) while we went through our menus looking at the pictures (not being able to read a word in their either!). Our waitress, who was bilingual, was very helpful and assisted us in decided on some delicious local breakfast entrees. Once we finished up there we spent some time cruising through Downtown Montreal. Although only able to scratch the surface with the amount of time we had in Montreal, we still had a blast driving up and down those hilly streets doing one our favorite past-times… collecting Instagram material! This is definitely a city we intend to go back to some day and experience more in depth. But for now, on to the next destination!

This is trip was kind of like speed dating. By the time we got to get a feel for if we liked or disliked a place, we swapped it out for a new place to meet! Next on this carrousel was Burlington, Vermont. A smooth 95 miles from Montreal and we found ourselves in this quaint, historical town. A little factoid for you: Burlington is the least populated city in the U.S. to also be the most populated city in its state. Here we drove down to the far side of town, the harbor on Lake Champlain, then meandered our way back to the other side. Doing our best to get a feel for the city in just a short time before we bolted off towards White Mountain National Forest on the Vermont/New Hampshire border.

Day 3’s daylight fleeing far too fast! We had a few hours left before dark, but had so much we still wanted to see. We got to the White Mountain National Forest as it started raining, but that didn’t slow us down. We hit the windy road into the mountain and began soaking up yet another destination. With so many autumn colors to absorb as we were driving, we almost missed a massive waterfall! But fortunately we were able to pull over, don the rain gear, and see the 250+ft. Silver Cascade up close and personal.

Driving through the fall colors, seeing rock formations, overlooking cliffs, and waterfalls enthralled us until nighttime came. Now on the east side of the National Forest, we set course to Portland, Maine.

At roughly 2 hours from where we were, Portland, Maine seemed like only a short drive away compared to the many miles we have logged in the last few days. So before we knew it we were there. Not having had a meal since the morning in Montreal, we set out to find another local brewing that would surely be equipped with another great American burger! This time we filled our bellies at Gritty McDuff’s in downtown Portland and headed off to our hotel for what would, without a doubt, be a short falling-to-sleep process.

Beginning the final day of our road trip, we woke and departed to downtown Portland for some breakfast. What seemingly was a quite Sunday morning around town yielded only large lines and long waits at all of the signature restaurants that had been recommended to us prior to the trip. But per our usual resilient selves, we found another wonderful little place nearby featuring some of the local eats that we were eager to try. The clam chowder in Portland lives up to the hype!

The small snapshot we got of Portland and Maine that morning only whets our appetite to see more. But as mentioned before, we were on a “speed-dating” road trip and had to get moving again. Coming in at approximately 10 hours from where we were in Portland to home in Washington D.C, we decided to add a drop-in to Boston, Massachusetts to the trip.

We love seeing/photographing skylines! So how could we resist taking the chance to stop and overlook The Cradle of Liberty along the way back home? It didn’t disappoint!

Several hours and a fly-by of Hartford, CT, New York, NY, Philadelphia, PA, and Baltimore, MD (to name a few) came and went. And by midnight we were pulling into our parking space at home sweet home.

All in all it was about 1,500 miles that weekend and loads of harvested pictures and memories that we will carry with us forever now!

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