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Northeast Road Trip Update 1

by Ashley
Published: Last Updated on 3 comments 187 views 6 minutes read

Greetings from the road! Literally. I’m typing this from the front seat of the car as justin drives us to Plymouth Rock.

Today is Day 6 of our 24 day road trip around the northeast United States, and I thought I’d share some highlights, thoughts, and tips from the first part of our adventure.

Friends in Every Corner

Two couple and six dogs
Amazing dinner at Zaytinya with awesome people
Dear Facebook, S and I do not look that much alike!!!
Before the drinking began.
New friends in NY!

For me, the most significant and fun aspect of this trip so far was getting to hang out with a different set of friends each night. Each set of friends represent a totally different part of our life, and we are fortunate enough to get to hang out with them during our travels.

Night One we spent with D and A, my best friend’s husband’s best friends. They graciously let us crash at their east TN home when we decided to kick start our trip a day early to avoid some Memorial Day weekend traffic. We didn’t get to spend much time with them but we did get snuggled by their six dogs. 🙂

Night Two we had a delicious dinner at Zaytinya in DC with V and C, my best friend’s high school best friend and her husband. I’ve gotten to hang out with V several times over the years, but never just one on one, without our mutual bestie. We had an absolute blast drinking and chatting late into the night with them.

On Night Three, we ate dinner with S and J. I met S through the SCBWI writing society in Nashville, and we love to nerd out about books and fandoms. Facebook ALWAYS thinks I am her, tagging me as her whenever I upload photos. (To be fair, we used to have a more similar haircut but we look nothing alike these days!)

We didn’t even know T and R lived near DC, but they do so they came into town on Night Four and we definitely drank too much catching up with these fellow cat lovers. I met T back in 2002 (I think?) at DefCon, the world’s biggest hacker conference, and we get to hang out for one day every couple years.

After DC, we headed north to spend the night in Elmsford, NY to spend the night with C and A. Justin knows C from FootballGuys.com but they dont know each other super well, so it was nice to get to know C and his wife, and find out we have a lot of in common and share a common worldview. We would have liked to spend more time with them, but alas. They’ll just have to come visit us in Nashville!

I feel so lucky to know so many awesome people in this part of the country 🙂

Home Exchange Number One


We have completed one of four exchanges that make up this road trip (that’s right! We had a surprise 4th one come up on the day we left town. More on that in a later post), and the first one went super smoothly. We did a simultaneous swap with a lovely Spanish couple who live in Chinatown, a perfectly central location for our first time to the city. We couldn’t have asked for a better location.

The apartment was spacious (2 bedroom, 1 bath), had a huge rooftop patio and pool that we definitely took advantage of, and included a parking spot in a garage. Checking in was a breeze as they had left the keys and garage fob with the front desk and they had emailed me clear instructions for everything. We kept in touch with them via text, as they drove from DC to Nashville with a friend and their 4 month old baby. As far as we know, they had no problems during the stay; they told us they thought our house was cozy and texted us on Monday when they checked out. We tidied up before we left, taking out the trash, and putting the sheets and towels in the washer. Easy peasy.

Things I love about staying in someone else’s home: the photos on the walls; using their shower products (it’s always fun to try a new face scrub or body wash); decorating ideas; eating their snacks; the cozy, intimate feel of a home.

Disappointment in DC

Rooftop pool
Husband loves wife by Washington Memorial
Near DuPont circle
The Capitol!!
National Geographic building

In trying not to over plan this trip, we ended up under planning and under researching. On Sunday, we wanted to hit up at least one of the Smithsonian museums, which are all free. What we didn’t know was that on weekends, you have to have a pass (which you can reserve for free online) and they were all out by the time we got there. We got kind of a late start on Sunday since I was not feeling so great, and the only other thing on our agenda was meeting friends at 5:30. It was a million degrees outside, we’d dressed to be indoors since that was the plan, and we’d already done the other touristy stuff we’d wanted to hit on this trip the day before. The heat and the disappointment in my lack of a Plan B put me in a bad mood, and I was very cranky for a few hours. Thankfully, Justin is way more easy going than I am, and helped get me out of my funk. We went up to the National Geographic museum (which was overpriced, imo), we checked out Kramerbooks, and walked around the Dupont Circle area. A bunch of cocktail bars were either not yet open since it was too early in the day or closed for the holiday. So we ended up going back to the apartment building and enjoying the weather by the pool.

I expressed my disappointment to Justin, explaining that part of it was worry that I was ruining the trip, or that our experiences wouldn’t live up to our expectations. But he helped me see how silly I was being. This isn’t the only time we’ll come to DC. And we don’t want to kill ourselves, trying to do every single little thing, using up all of our energy and spending too much money. It ended up being a good thing that we spent the afternoon at home, relaxing and napping since we hit the bars hard with T and R that evening.

I’m going to try to lower my expectations as we continue on our adventures, lowering the pressure I put on myself to make this perfect or amazing. As Justin reminded me, at least we are together, and in an unfamiliar city, a disappointing day spent together is better than an amazing day spent apart.


Trip Stats So Far

Nashville, TN to Plymouth Rock, MA

Miles Driven: 1159
Hours in Car: 18.5
Speeding Tickets: 1 (Justin)
Cost of Toll Roads: $40
Miles Walked: 25
States Seen: 9
Number of Times We’ve Referenced Hamilton: 417


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