I spent much of last week on the East Coast attending a friend’s wedding in Boston, visiting another friend’s new baby in New York, and meeting with a third friend in Philadelphia. It was crazy, and I fit in some business meetings along the way. But what most excited me about this trip was that I flew in a day early just to drive up to Maine for the day.
Maine? Yes, to Portland, Maine. You see, I’ve never really explored the East Coast outside of the downtown cores of a few major cities. But growing up in California I took lots of road trips to the backside of Yosemite, Las Vegas, the American River, and everywhere up and down the coast. So I wanted to see more of New England and figured Portland made an easy target. After all, I’ve been to Portland, Oregon. How would its eastern cousin compare?
(It also meant I could extend my rental car in Boston by an extra day and earn 300 points toward National Car Rental’s One Two FREE promotion.)
After choosing my car from National’s Emerald Aisle at the new centralized rental facility at Boston-Logan, I headed north on US Highway 1 through Saugus and Danvers before finally switching over to I-95. It was slower, but I liked checking out the roadside restaurants, including a steakhouse with a giant neon cactus and another built to look like a ship! Near the New Hampshire state line I exited and headed toward the coast by Seabrook.
I don’t see real sand dunes often. Out west, most beaches are abutted by steep cliffs. I was the only person around on that Thursday morning as most shops were closed for the winter, even McDonalds!
Eventually I headed north again, passing some stately homes in the town of Rye before stopping for lunch in Portsmouth. There I got to try what New Englanders call a pale ale (Seattle has turned me into such a beer snob) before heading back to I-95.
Toll roads are still something I’m getting used to. They’re common enough in Asia, but to see one on a public highway, let alone a US Interstate, still amazes me. Maine is very, very proud of theirs, as you can tell from the signs along the way that tell you about its dedication, special laws, and so on. New Hampshire proudly advertises their state liquor stores with special blue signs. But in Washington I have trouble finding a speed limit sign. Go figure.
Portland did remind me of its Oregon counterpart, but it seemed much smaller and far more straight-laced. I like our quirky Pacific Northwest with its beer, bikes, and excessive number of stores for dogs. I suppose there may be a tie for food: we have salmon and they have lobster. I didn’t have time to stay for dinner on this trip, but a restaurant named (and located on) Fore Street and the Standard Baking Company underneath it both looked tasty.
I decided to test myself on the return and see how long it would take to cross the entire state of New Hampshire. It’s only 16 miles and took me 15 minutes on the dot, despite stopping to pay a cash toll. It still blows my mind how tiny the eastern states are. California is 200 miles wide and 800 miles long! I’m not trying to play favorites, but I like making trips like these just to see how different things can be without even leaving the country. I ran into a guy on my flight to New York who lives on Cape Cod, so you can guess where I’m heading next…
Win Credit Toward One Two FREE!
Ever wish you could take an extra day on your next trip to go out and explore?
You can win 300 points that you can apply to the One Two FREE campaign! The newly redesigned One Two Free program allows Emerald Club members the ability to accrue points, to eventually earn a free rental – essentially, when you rent twice, you get the third one free. These 300 points can be used to jump-start your participation in the One Two Free campaign. Learn how to earn more points, here.
National offered me some points as well, but I’ve already earned some through this promotion as a customer. So while I will still receive something, I asked that they give most of them to you guys. I also realize I am only halfway through my promise to hand out $400 in gift cards when I hit 4,000 Twitter followers. So one grand prize winner will receive $100 from my own pocket. You can use it for anything — but I suggest using it to upgrade your next rental from National’s new Premier Selection!
- Enter by commenting on this post with a destination or description of a day trip you would like to take. (Disqus requires a valid email address to make a comment.)
- One (1) Grand Prize Winner will receive 300 points from National Car Rental and a $100 gift card from me.
- Two (2) Runners Up will receive 300 points each from National Car Rental.
- Everyone should visit the One Two FREE site to register and earn more points. A qualifying rental earns 300 points, and you need 600 points for a free rental day.
This giveaway closes at 11:59 PM Pacific Time on Wednesday, October 23. I will contact the winners on Thursday. Please response by Sunday, October 27, with your full name, email address, and Emerald Club number or else I may award your prize to another entrant.
Disclosure: I will receive compensation from National Car Rental for organizing this giveaway. National is responsible for fulfillment of bonus points for One Two FREE.