Without any travel plans prepared for the near future as winter has begun to settle in, I am struggling with major wanderlust. This means that I am spending same quality time reliving one of the best trips of my life: a roadtrip along the east coast following my college graduation.
I meticulously researched the best places to sightsee and dine anywhere from Philadelphia to Portland, Maine. With the help of many Buzzfeed articles and TripAdvisor tips, the trip was a massive success. To this day, I dream about being back on the road and eating lobster rolls any chance I get. In an effort to relive my adventure and allow my readers to do the same, I’ve decided to share my state-by-state recommendations. Here’s to wishing you happy travels in the new year!
Tony Lukes, Philadelphia
Tony Lukes was recommended to me as the best restaurant at which to receive an authentic Philly Cheesesteak, and I soon learned why. Served on a sub roll, the sandwich oozed with meat and cheese. While I didn’t go the traditional route and get Cheez-Wiz on mine (oof, no thanks), I still dream about this sub.
Spruce Street Harbor Park, Philadelphia
On the first day of the trip, I found my favorite place of them all. This calm and peaceful park in the middle of the city was the perfect natural refuge. The trees are always covered in dreamy twinkle lights, and during the summer, the park is the host of many outdoor night parties with food trucks and bonfires.
Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, Philadelphia
The weirdest and by far the coolest experience was visiting Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens. This art exhibit was created with broken glass, ceramic tiles, tires, and everything in between. It would be easy to get lost here for hours because no two sections are alike. It is a great reminder that you can create a large masterpiece out of small insignificant pieces.
Gosman’s Dock, Montauk
Bloody marys, jumbo shrimp, and an amazing view of the ocean makes the hike out here worth it. While I love sitting lake-side in Minnesota, nothing beats oceanside views and the sound of waves crashing against the rocks.
Montauk Point Lighthouse, Montauk
Not the best idea for those afraid of heights (myself included). Montauk Point Lighthouse allows visitors to climb up a small spiral staircase to see the end of Long Island from the top of the building. Though a scary climb, the view is breathtaking.
S’Mac, New York
S’Mac is the perfect dive for any mac and cheese lover. With 13 different kinds, including a sampler option, you can get your mac and cheese fix with a twist. My dish of choice was La Mancha which involved Manchego cheese with fennel and onions. Cheese-licious!
Gillette Castle, East Haddam
Gillette Castle was another interesting find that reminded me of Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens. Created by William Hooker Gillette, the stone castle has 24 rooms, and the tour is full of cool fun facts about the architect as well as the mansion itself. For example, every single door was hand crafted from wood and not one of the 40+ doors are the same.
Wall of Hope, Providence
Through the Wall of Hope, students of Providence created tiles in remembrance of those who died during 9/11. In the tunnel, you’ll find hundreds of tiles with wishes of hope and peace and drawings.
The Boardwalk, Sandwich
How could you resist a visit to a town named Sandwich? The narrow boardwalk leads visitors to Cape Cod Bay with a scenic walk on the way; swamp land with yellow grasses contrasting with the blue-green water. You’d never guess this boardwalk leads to the beach, but the destination is the perfect place to for a long walk along the Bay.
Red’s Eats, Wiscasset
Red’s Eats was my favorite restaurant of the entire trip. While we stopped to have lobster rolls at many places along the way, this one takes the gold with over one whole lobster in each roll and served with warm melted butter. Be warned that you might miss Red’s Eats if you aren’t looking hard enough! This award-winning location is a red shack on the corner of a small-town street, so look for the red and white banner and you’ll know you’ve made it to lobster-heaven.
Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor
Hundreds of people hike/drive up to the top of Cadillac Mountain to see the sunrise here. Why? Because it is the farthest East point of the United States, which means visitors to this place see the sunrise before the rest of the nation. Absolutely serene.
Take your photo with the largest L.L.Bean boot! The store may be huge and a shopper’s dream, but the best part is seeing the giant boot outside. Even if you aren’t looking to shop, the boot is worth the stop.
After two flights, nine days of driving, and countless laughs, calories, and photos, my trip out East was one for the books. But whether you are just making one of these stops or driving from Philly to Portland, Maine, you’ll never have a dull experience or meal.
Are there hidden gems I missed? Comment below or tweet us @litdarling with your favorite places to see and eat along the East coast!
Photos by: Renae Eddy