So you know when you think of American colleges (university’s) you think of beer pong, red cups, the different social groups, pristine campuses and high level sports? It looks like so much fun and you wish it was real life right? Well before we visited our friend Katie at a college in Rhode Island I was sceptical whether it was true or not, but alas, the visit proved that the movies weren’t actually lying and it is actually reality!
After a 2 and a half hour drive from Boston where we sped past a cop car and were lucky not to get pulled over, we crossed over from the state of Massachusetts into the State of Rhode Island. The GPS was taking us straight to the campus and to get there we had to cross several bridges over the coastal and bay area of Rhode Island which were beautiful themselves and had breath-taking views.
We arrived at the college and parked up on a street just off campus. We had no means of communicating with her so just started wandering around her campus kind of just hoping to bump into her. The campus itself was gorgeous; perfectly cut lawns, fountains in the middle of lakes, blue and white wooden cladded blocks of flats and plenty of statues. After a while we eventually accepted that we weren’t going to bump into her wandering around so we asked a couple of groups of students if they knew her (another long shot I know). Unsurprisingly at a campus with 5000 students the answer was no. We needed to contact her. We walked to the college library wanting to the use the computers to message Katie. We were expecting to be turned away as we weren’t students, but somehow we just strolled in, said hi to the receptionists, walked through the barriers with no questions asked and found a computer that somebody had forgotten to log out of. I logged onto Facebook, told her where we were and she said she’d come get us. After a few minutes we saw her walk across the lawn and into the library and we were reunited with one of our closest friends from over the summer!
Once reunited we headed to Katie’s accommodation where we were going to spend two nights. The accommodation was great, although we’d be sleeping on the floor, the rooms were like apartments and were really spacious whereas in England you’re stuck with your little cupboard to live in like Harry Potter.
We then headed to the college canteen as we hadn’t eaten all day. This was where we first really had a taste of American college life. The canteen was full of students and It was so interesting to people watch; the groups you see in the films kind of existed to. The food was good as well with lots of choice and some of it was actually pretty healthy! That night we attended a dorm party off campus where we played many games of beer pong, talked to lots of American students and were asked to ‘say something!’ in our accents about 1462 times. It turned out to be a great night and we woke up the next morning all piled into Katie’s dorm feeling a little worse for the wear.
The day was now Sunday and Katie had Work due on Monday so we decided to leave her be for the day and visit the local coastal town of Newport. Although quite touristy, Newport is a nice place to visit as it has tons of bars, restaurants and shops available at your leisure. Whilst you’re not ogling the Maserati’s driving past or the massive yachts in the harbours there are also a series of cliff walks available as well as multiple beaches that are all worth a visit. Rejects beach, named as there is a beach nearby which you have to pay for and anyone who doesn’t want to pay goes to Rejects, is the best beach to visit in the area.
Once finished at the beach we headed back to meet Katie who suggested we go to Colt State Park to chill out and relax. If you have the time, this place is well worth a visit; there’s a great little jetty where you can find fisherman all day and it has amazing views over the bay and of Patience Island. It’s also a great place to watch the sunset. We stayed there for about an hour and on our way out in the car we nearly bumped into a Doe and her baby who were running across the road. That night we chilled with Katie and some of her friends on campus then hit the hay as Katie had class the next morning. We Woke up the next morning to Katie returning from her 9am class and realised we had to leave ASAP as we had to return our rental car to New York by 1pm that day. We showered, brushed our teeth and packed ready to go. We then said our goodbyes to Katie wo was great to us over the couple of days we were there. I’m sure I will see her again whether in the USA or across the pond in the UK.
Bet you thought I made a spelling mistake in the title right? Well if you say it like its spelt then you’re talking like a Bostonian. The accents of the true Bostonians are awesome; you could listen to them all day as they talk about going to the pahk (park) and drinking some beeahs (beers), they’re also friendly and helpful as hell.
The city itself is diverse and is full of business professionals whilst at the same time being popular with the younger crowd resulting in the city being pretty hipster with a lot of cool bars and pubs which reminded me of Shoreditch or Islington in London. As well as the people, the city is also pretty cool. When you arrive you instantly notice the red brick buildings that fill Boston as well as the countless bridges that span the water surrounding the city which I personally think look great.
As far as attractions are concerned the Museum of fine arts (MFA) is well worth a visit. I’m not usually into art museums but this one was pretty cool. There was art from over a thousand years ago to the present day from all over the world. We spent about 3 hours there but that still wasn’t enough time to see all the exhibits. Harvard and MIT campuses are close together but in my opinion can be skipped unless you like to look at the architecture of buildings for the whole day as there is not actually much to do there other than the tours of the campuses. Fenway Park is worth a visit though. There is an hour tour where you go into the changing rooms and media box but I was happy with the 15 minute tour which is great if you want to save time and money whilst also seeing the most important parts of the grounds. The monument to the battle of Bunker Hill is the other notable attraction worth a visit. The staircase to the top is long, winding and narrow but the views over the city are good and the centre of the monument is hollow with an iron grill on the top which you can walk over and look down to the bottom. The main reason I’d recommend a visit to Bunker Hill is for the guy who was talking outside dressed in old revolutionary battle gear. He talked about the battle in such great detail and was so enthusiastic to the point where I started imagining the battle going on around us and couldn’t stop listening.
In Boston we saw two sides of the night life on offer. On our first night out we went to meet a friend from camp in Newbury Street in central Boston. Unfortunately things didn’t work out and we couldn’t meet her but we decided stayed on the street and visited a couple of bars. Newbury Street is what you would call affluent; the street is lined with designer clothes and jewellery shops. After getting talking to a couple of ladies at the bar It turned out to be where the entrepreneurs and successful business people hung out, although surprisingly this wasn’t reflected in the alcohol prices which was a pleasant surprise. We stayed out for a few drinks in a couple of fancy looking bars and learnt a lot about the upper echelons of Boston which was interesting to get into a glimpse into the world of artists, film directors and entrepreneurs. However ultimately it wasn’t our scene so we left to get the last train home. The second night we travelled to Haymarket. This part of Boston is full of bars, pubs and a few street performers all along one big strip and attracts a mixture of locals and tourists. Most of the bars in this area have live music and it is basically just a big party all the way down the street. The crowd here is a mixture of people ranging from the young to any age but it works out and everyone enjoys themselves. This area was definitely more our scene and a cab ride at 2am was the only way home.
The only downside to Boston is the price. It’s the 6th most expensive city in the world for accommodation and the 1st most expensive city listed on Airbnb. This was reflected in the hostel prices; we looked for hostels in the centre of the city but it was about $70 a night and they were all sold out anyway. We eventually found a hostel just over the river but it was still pretty expensive at $55 a night. Boston also has the most road tunnels out of any city I’ve visited and as a result is a nightmare for GPS’s. We missed multiple turnings whilst searching for our hostel due to the GPS not working in the tunnels then taking time to catch up once out the tunnel. We ended up driving around Boston for about 2 hours on arrival looking for our hostel. However, we actually didn’t mind because we weren’t rushed for time and had fun exploring the city.
All in all Boston is a great city. It’s so diverse and we managed to see different sides of the city in just the 2 nights. There’s plenty for sightseers to do as well as sports fans and those that just want to enjoy their food and drink. There’s plenty to do at a night time as well with Haymarket being the go to place for most people. The city also has some great parks that are great to chill out in on a hot summer’s day. I hoped that we could meet up with our friend who could have hopefully shown us parts of Boston off the beaten track. However, I’m sure I’ll be back in Boston again when I can explore the city some more and rekindle my love for the Bostonian accent…
This is Vlog #2 of our first full day of travelling were we drove up Mount Washington, went zip lining and drove to Boston! Enjoy x
Below is VLOG #1 of us leaving camp and trying out our new rental car in New Hampshire!
So the day arrived where the majority of staff including myself was to leave camp. Some people were going straight home whilst others like Kyle, Marc and I were to start travelling around the USA before returning home. In the morning a final checkout was completed to make sure our accommodation was in good condition. I also took the opportunity to write mine and Kyle’s names into history by writing our names, year and ‘Whif Whaf Champions’ onto one of the beams in our room.
After this we said goodbye to everyone that we could find and the 3 of us guys headed with Becca who would be our driver to a van to start our big American adventure. We were on our way to collect a rental car that I had booked for a week and were going to drive to the White Mountains in New Hampshire in order to summit Mount Washington. We were then going to find accommodation near the mountain overnight and head to Boston the next day.
Now that camp is over and I can basically do what I want with my time and I’m going to experiment a bit with Vlogging. I’ve been following a couple of Vloggers on YouTube, namely FunForLouis and CaseyNeistat who I’ve really grown to like. I’ve always liked videoing things so I thought I’d give it a go out here whilst I have time to record and edit footage. I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to put one out every day or every couple of days but I have 3 weeks travelling and I’m going to aim for a minimum of 10 videos documenting individual days which I think is more than possible. Countdown to VLOG #1 commencing….
The end of family camp and week in the woods at Arcadia signaled the coming of the end of our time at Arcadia. Once the final campers had left from Week in The Woods we had two days where we set down the camp as winter was coming. Maine winters are harsh with frozen lakes you can skate on, snow drifts up to 10ft and freezing temperatures. as a result everything has to be put into storage.
This was actually a great couple of days; the work we were doing was hard but everyone was in high spirits because we knew that camp was coming to an end and travelling was coming soon. The staff was split into two teams and I was in the waterfront team. Our responsibilities were mainly setting down the waterfront and taking all the sailboats, row boats, canoes and kayaks onto land, cleaning them and then putting them into storage. Myself and Becca, a trips counsellor, literally swam from the docks to the beach with sailing boats and row boats behind us in order to get them onto land. Once on land they were moved by tractor further up the hill in order to be cleaned. We were given a hose, sponges and water buckets and whilst the cleaning was completed to an extremely high standard there were numerous water fights in the hot Maine summer day. Whilst we were cleaning the boats the tractor that was lifting canoes further up the hill drove past with Kyle and Kevin sitting inside them. Of course as we had a hose they were soaked. However, Steve the tractor driver lifted the canoes higher in the air to help them get out the spray zone but the canoes wobbled so much that they nearly fell off the tractor. This caused the funniest faces of panic on Kevin’s and Kyles faces that I’ve seen in ages.
Whilst some canoes were going up the hill, the other ‘red canoes’ were to stay down the hill to be stored in the point cabin which is near the beach. As well as the canoes we also had to store the stands on which they stood during the summer in the cabins. This involved rearranging the beds already there to make as much room as possible. Getting the canoes in the cabin was not an issue as you just had to lift them up the cabin steps and just pivot a few times. However the canoe stands were the issue. Four long pieces of wood in the shape of a square with a leg on each corner proved impossible to get into the cabin for about 30 minutes. We then questioned whether they were actually meant to go in this cabin at all. We tried another entrance to the same cabin that didn’t work and then returned to the original entrance where we sat down and had a think about our strategy. We eventually figured out a chain of movements that would somehow magically allow the stand to go into the cabin. It was so complicated that we got another counsellor to record it on their phone in order for future staff to see how it is done so they don’t waste time banging the stands against the cabin door frames.
Once everything was packed away after a solid two days work, camp was set down for the winter and we were preparing to leave camp the next day.