We had now lived in the concrete jungle of New York City for over six months, and we needed a break. We felt like reconnecting with the greener side of life where things seemed simple and easy, so we decided it was time for a camping trip.
Once again, we packed up the car but this time we included a few camping supplies, then we set off towards New England. Our destination was a patch of woods in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Our mission was to catch the spirit of the American wilderness.
Our very first American Independence Day was fast approaching and Jessie and I wanted to do something special. We knew it had to involve fireworks, a military marching band, and tolling bells, but we wanted more. That’s when we decided that to get the best experience of Independence Day, we would travel back in time.
We set our destination to Williamsburg, Virginia, and the year was 1776. We would go back to the moment that America’s liberty was declared and spend a week exploring the town and its surroundings. It was time to go back to when it all began.
It was the bottom of the ninth, and the Yankees were behind but with a bit of luck they could still take it out. Hope floated about the stadium as the crowds held their breath. I was just happy to have learnt what ‘bottom of the ninth’ meant.
Where I come from baseball isn’t all that popular, so being in America I figured it was time to get amongst the game known affectionately as America’s favourite pastime. However, I didn’t want to start at the bottom and make my way through the little leagues. I went straight to the top, buying tickets to see the big players.
In our own test, we put the New York Yankees at the massive Yankee Stadium in New York up against the Boston Red Sox at their beloved home of Fenway Park in Boston. Here’s how the stadiums and ballgames played out.
The city of Boston was a mess. There were no cars in sight, only thousands of people roaming the streets dressed in black and yellow, singing and chanting. Police were blocking off public spaces. What had we got ourselves into?
Our journey into American history had brought us to Boston, Massachusetts – home of an American revolutionary named Paul Revere, and also home of the Boston Red Sox and Harvard University. We had come looking to learn more about the American Revolution, with a night out to see the baseball, but the city offered something else.
Here’s what happened when we stumbled into Boston during one of their biggest moments since America got its independence.
While living in New York City, we couldn’t help but notice it across the Hudson River. All the way down the side of the Big Apple, it reflected back at us like a twisted mirror, and it wasn’t a pretty sight.
I could imagine privileged children long ago, innocently asking their fathers while staring across the water, “Daddy, what is there on the other side of the river?” and their fathers would reply cautiously, “There’s nothing there, son. That’s New Jersey, and you must never go there.”
We only saw a portion of New Jersey and this recollection of my handful of journeys across to the rough side of the river may not give it a fair representation. Nonetheless, feel free to read on out of curiosity as I explain how despite showing a rather ugly face in public, the state actually does have some hidden treasures.
We had now visited the brain of the United States (AKA Washington DC), but we wanted to go back further in history. Who were Americans before they were American, and what were these pre-Americans like?
I wanted to trace their history, and instead of finding clues in ancient cave paintings, I found my answer in a travel guide. Next, we packed up the car for a weekend trip, and printed out directions to the quaint little state of Rhode Island.
Almost two months of living amongst the cramped, concrete jungle of New York City was beginning to get to us, and we felt like we needed a break from urban life – somewhere we could get back to nature, and away from the hustle and bustle of modern living. We wanted the simple life.
Researching into where we could find this kind of lifestyle, we read about the Amish communities and their shunning of modern technology. We read about their horse-drawn buggies, and their black and white clothes. Then we read that they lived only two and a half hours away from New York in the state of Pennsylvania. Throw in visits to the chocolate town of Hershey and the city of Philadelphia, and we had found our next American trip.