Travel Planning – Transportation

I took a short three day trip to the Boston area to visit my very dear friend Kate. Kate and I have been friends since we were 15 years old! I am very blessed to have a friend for that long. We have literally grown up together.

We have shared crazy awkward and wild high school and college moments together. We have a lot of memories, good and bad. We’ve have experienced life together and it is absolutely amazing to share that stuff with a good friend. You don’t get to make friends like this as a middle-aged adult. You can have amazing friendships and develop new ones, but they will never know you like someone you grew up with. I don’t get to see Kate very often, but when I do, I know it will be filled with so much laughter that my face will hurt and we will exhaust ourselves with jokes, funny faces, and addictive giggling that will go long into the night.

Needless to say, I have been very excited about this trip for months. I will happily head into near arctic temperatures to see her because I know we will be sweating our asses off laughing so hard.

Anyway, what a boring topic, transportation. Transportation, how we get from place to place. We have so many options now. We can get to places by car, train, bus, airplane, boat, bike, walking. We have car categories such as taxi, rideshare options such as Uber or Lyft, this list goes on.

So how do we decide?

We have to consider the cost, time, and convenience of the transportation.

I had to decide if I was going to take an Uber, taxi, ask my husband for a ride, or drive myself. If I had a choice how I would get to the airport, I would have a ride from my husband right to the terminal, every time.

However, I am not that lucky, really ever. So, my next choice would be to pay for a ride right to the gate. Now, for a quick 3-day trip (see what I packed here), sometimes that is not the most economical option. I would consider myself a budget traveler and I try to maximize the trip and spend the least amount of money.

So, I chose to drive and instead of parking at the airport, I did a little google search ‘budget parking RDU off-site’ and found Fast Park and Relax website. With a name like that, I couldn’t go wrong right? I have used this lot before, but couldn’t remember the name. Not only did I find Fast Park and Relax I found that hotels nearby the airport offer very affordable parking as well.

For example, the Doubletree Hilton offers $4.45 a day parking and a free shuttle every 30 minutes! Amazing. I will definitely try that some time. This website culminates all the cheap off-site parking available in your area.

I played it safe and wanted peace of mind that it would all work out, so I choose Fast Park and Relax at $6.63/day.

This takes a little bit more time that parking at the airport because you need to take a shuttle and the shuttle ride is about 10 minutes, so you have to plan ahead and not be cutting it so close that you might risk missing your flight. I add an extra 30 minutes to my home departure time for this option, which is more than enough.

Ok, so you’ve decided how you are getting to the airport. What about when you land at your destination? I personally don’t like renting cars. I’d rather figure out an alternative. I research public transportation and the availability of rideshare services such as Uber in my destination.

I took a bus to get to my friend’s town in Newburyport, Massachusetts which is about 45 minutes northeast of Boston. I would not ask my friend to come in and pick me up during rush hour when it’s so easy and affordable to take a bus or ride share.

I take C&J Trailways, which is not your typical Greyhound. It’s a non-stop ride with wifi, power outlets, water, bathroom, comfy seats, the works. It cost $22 one way and it’s totally worth it. You can purchase tickets in advance on their website or if you don’t want to do this, you just get on the bus and they take your drivers license and you can pay for the ticket once you reach your destination. Wheww, I learned this as I ran to the bus pickup location just in the nick of time. Thanks, C&J!

If you don’t know what is available at your destination, again, turn to Google and search ‘XXX international transportation to XXXX services’ and you will typically get a bus, subway, train, rental car and private ride options.

Have all this figured out well in advance so that you can save a little money and aren’t scrambling at the last second and need to rely on expensive taxi’s to get you where you are going.

Ok, that’s it for now.

#ArtisanAngelaTravels

P.S. Are you interested in reading about what I did while I was there? Click here!

Like what I’m writing about travel? Check out my other travel posts below.

Travel Planning – Packing

Travel Planning – Group Travel

Travel Planning – Accommodations

Travel Planning – Packing for 3 Day Trip in the Winter

Three Day Trip to Newburyport Massachusetts 

 

Three day trip to Newburyport Massachusetts

I went to Newburyport Massachusetts this past weekend to see my beautiful friend Kate. We’ve been friends for 23 years. Needless to say, I was very excited.

She invited me to stay at her house for one night with her 2 adorable children, along with her new yellow Labrador puppy, and darling husband.

Upon arrival, I was greeted with a custom performance that included flips, splits, break dancing, and a dance party to the song Happy. What a welcome!

We then headed out to dinner in Amesbury at a lovely little place called Flatbreads. Flatbreads fires up artisan pizzas in their giant wood-burning oven that is smack dab right in the middle of the dining room. We cozied up at a table for 4 right next to it to stay warm.

The kids are mesmerized by the fire and by watching the young people sliding the pies in and out of the oven. I ordered a salad and they were happy to customize with all their yummy pizza toppings. They brought out fresh dough for the kids to play with. It was a really nice cozy evening and I highly recommend a trip there if you are ever in the area. They have several locations, so just check out their website.

The next day we packed up our bags and set out. Our first stop, in Newburyport, was at a delightful little local coffee shop that happens to make amazing crepes called Commune. They serve up Counter Culture coffee and we sat there for about an hour in their very comfy sofa catching up and making a plan for the next 2 days.

After coffee, we took off to our 2-day retreat at a historic farm about 30 minutes away in Rowley, Massachusetts. Kate had made reservations at The Bradstreet Farm, which is the second-oldest continually operating farm in the U.S. It was originally deeded by King Charles I of England to Humphrey Bradstreet in 1635. So cool!

Upon arrival, Michael the owner introduced us to the farm residents; goats, sheep, ducks, chickens, and a pig. They were so cute! The goats were my favorite. Then he tells us about a hike on his property that would take us out all the way to the ocean. Yes, please! He verbally explained how to get out there and we took off. We had to trample through about a foot or so of heavy wet snow, but it was so fun! The trail took us around the field, through the woods, and through a frozen marsh. I was ecstatic! We don’t get heavy snow like that down in North Carolina. I was stoked to get to walk through it and be outside. Hiking is probably one of my favorite activities to do. Hiking with a friend is a double treat. We aren’t distracted with phones, kids, or pending tasks and we get to talk and connect while exercising. It’s perfect.

Anyway, we never saw the ocean but we didn’t care. We turned back towards the farm throwing snowballs and eating snow.

Once we got back, we unloaded our stuff, checked out the kitchen in our little apartment that was connected to the big farmhouse, and made a list of what we wanted to have for the next 2 days. The first and probably the most important thing was coffee. They had K cups, which I just don’t do! We decided we would get a French press and some local coffee. Michael had stocked the fridge with fresh chicken and duck eggs, milk, orange juice, white and red wine, and chocolate! Those were very nice touches. You can book Michaels farm apartment called Dolores cabin through Airbnb.

This area is also known for their antique shops. I swear the entire area has been preserved since colonial times, so needless to say the antique shops are aplenty. We visited one right across the street from the farm called Salt Marsh Antiques. Very friendly and helpful people with an amazing selection of antiques, if you are in the market for a cool New England piece, they will surely have it.

After antiquing we took off for Tendercrop Farm Market in Newbury. Every time I visit Kate, I make her take me there. It’s a farm stand market that sells what they produce on their farm, so it’s all their own products and few other local provisions. We picked up some fresh bacon, cheese curds, baby kale, avocado, cultured butter, cream, a loaf of French bread, and of course coffee.

Our next mission was a French press, so Kate called around and found one at Starbucks in Newburyport (call and ask for Jackie, she is amazing!). So back to town we went. We picked up our new pot and then wandered in and out of some little shops in town. I love Newburyport, it’s a quintessential New England coastal town. Brick buildings line the streets, brick alleyways all against the backdrop of the coastal waters.

My favorite shop was Best of British they carry fine imported goods from the United Kingdom and Ireland. The lovely ladies inside helped me pick out a new tea called Paris. They were so nice and took a lot of time to explain loose leaf teas, how to use them, and how to brew them. I have become a regular tea drinker and was very excited to break away from my standard evening chamomile!

After shopping, we went back to the farm and got ready for dinner. We had 5:30 (yes we are old and like to eat early and it’s wonderful!) reservations at the historic 1640 Hart House in Ipswich. This place has an amazing story if you have a few read about it here.

We enjoyed an amazing meal, I had steak, Kate had pumpkin ravioli and we enjoyed more conversations by candlelight.

The next day, we made breakfast and enjoyed our amazing French press coffee and a morning fire in the fireplace. We then set out for a winter hike at Old Town Hill.

This hike would take us up on and over the hill for an amazing view of the Great Marsh and the ocean. The ice on the trails was a bit hard to navigate, but we learned that a little squeal every time we slipped helped balance us out somehow, echolocation maybe? Not sure, but it helped! We laughed and talked all the way up and back. It was probably the highlight of the entire weekend.

I left the next morning, sad to say goodbye and happy to get back to my crazy 3 kids and a wonderful husband.

If you are looking for an easy and affordable weekend getaway, I would highly recommend the little towns in the northeast Boston area of Newburyport, Newbury, Ipswich, Amesbury, and Rowley. You are close to the ocean, can enjoy wonderful hiking trails, historic culture, and friendly people. You won’t regret it! 

Love to all,

Angela

You can read about how I packed for this trip here, and how I got from Logan International to Newburyport here!

#ArtisanAngelaTravels

Travel Planning – Packing for 3 Day Trip in the Winter

What to pack and what vessel to bring all your crap in. It’s a hot topic for me and my friends right now! I am on a trip to visit my friend in Boston in January, so packing light takes on a different meaning when you are going to the northeast in the winter time. But, I always am up for a good challenge. I have 2 backpacks that I regularly use for travel. I chose my smaller one for this trip. I wanted to see how light I could go.

First of all, the purpose of the trip was to be with my friend. We want to laugh and relax and that is it. No going out to fancy dinners or doing much touristy stuff. So, that eliminated a lot of extra fluff. I needed a couple pairs of pants, some warm shirt options, my exercise clothes, and a few other essentials, like my laptop, sleep mask etc.

Deciding on what shoes to bring caused me the most grief. I had to have shoes that would be appropriate for slushing around in the snow and I had to have shoes that would be acceptable if we were to find ourselves in a nicer environment. I choose sneakers. My running shoes and my black Nike’s that go with everything. I really wanted to bring my cute boots with heels, but they were too bulky and I wanted to really feel what it was like to just bring the basics on this trip. I want to feel uncomfortable and know I will survive. It’s good practice for everyday life. Do more with less! Feel more, live, experience your emotions, I promise it will be ok. Ha!

So here is what I packed. It all fits nicely into my backpack (besides what I am wearing and my coat and scarf) and I still have a lot of room.

  • 4 pairs of pants (one pair of jeans, 2 pairs ‘nice’ loungewear sweatpants, one pair of running pants)
  • 5 shirts (4 cotton, 1 silk)
  • 3 pairs of socks
  • 2 pairs of shoes
  • Laptop, power wire
  • iPhone power wire
  • Workbook
  • Sleep mask
  • Earplugs
  • Curling iron
  • Mini hairbrush
  • Hair pick
  • 1 scarf
  • 1 baseball hat
  • 1 stocking hat
  • 1 winter coat
  • Sunglasses
  • 2 cardigan type sweaters
  • 1 flannel pair of PJs
  • (1) quart size toiletry bag filled with re-usable 3 oz travel containers of shampoo, conditioner, body oil, hair gel. Travel sized toothpaste, lipstick, toothbrush, deodorant
  • (1) makeup bag with mascara, eyeshadow, blush, eyeliner, powder, blush brush, powder brush, concealer, and pore minimizer
  • I also choose to go with cute trendy fanny pack than to carry a purse. Inside my fanny pack are my driver’s license, 1 credit card, 1 debit card, lipgloss, earphones, iPhone, car keys, and a tiny bag of almonds and walnuts
  • (1) water bottle

That list seems like a lot, and I’m sure I could get it down even more*, but I feel pretty comfortable with it and the backpack is not heavy at all.

Love this? Hate this? Let me know!

#ArtisanAngelaTravels

*Update- I used everything that I packed except for the baseball hat!