Checking Vermont off the List

At this point, the only states I'm missing are Vermont and Alaska. And it's a lot easier to drive to Vermont from Ohio than it is from Texas... so I figured I should visit now! But I can't just drive to Vermont and back, so I built a whole week-long trip around it. Plus it gave me a chance to finally visit Toronto with my classmate who's from there.

Day 1: Cleveland OH to Pittsburgh PA

STOPS: National Aviary, Mitchell's Fish Market, Movie Theater

Packed up in the morning and left Cleveland around 1. Arrived at the National Aviary after 3. It was a small place but the variety of birds was impressive, walking around twice made the most of the visit. I saw a bald eagle attack the glass, fed a lorikeet on my hand, and gave a worm to a tropical bird. I went to Homestead to meet up with a college friend, getting dinner at Mitchell's Fish Market then watching the Avengers movie. We went back to his new townhouse to call it a night.

Day's Mileage: 156

Total Mileage: 156 (156/day)

States Visited: Ohio, Pennsylvania

Total States Visited: 2

Day 2: Pittsburgh PA to Philadelphia PA

STOPS: Flight 93 National Memorial, Mutter Museum, Copabanana, Fleming's

I left Pittsburgh when my friend left for work and drove to the Flight 93 National Memorial. It's a very simplistic memorial, but does justice to the memory of the people on the flight. It's in a rural area, highly recommend going on a nice day. I took a short detour to see a controversial billboard before driving all the way to Philly to my favorite place, the Mutter Museum. If you haven't gone, you need to go. This was my first time going since starting medical school, and it brought a whole different level of enjoyment and excitement to the exhibits. The greatest improvement was the gift shop, where I picked up some prostate-shaped pins for myself and my co-residents. In quick succession, I met up with a friend at Copabanana, went to dinner with one cousin at Fleming's, and stayed with another cousin for the evening.

Day's Mileage: 354

Total Mileage: 510 (255/day)

States Visited: Pennsylvania

Total States Visited: 2

Day 3: Philadelphia PA to Burlington VT

STOPS: Cushing Center, Dinosaur State Park, Bellows Falls Petroglyphs, Phineas Gage Monument, Ben & Jerry's Factory, Revolution Kitchen, Crow Bookstore

Today was a LONG day. Left Philadelphia by 6:45, hit traffic near Newark and proceed to take the most roundabout way to get around NYC (but the skyline was nice). I finally escaped the umpteenth traffic jam and arrived at Yale to see the Cushing Center. Compared to the Mutter Museum, it's less interesting, but it is cool to see some of Dr. Cushing's instruments and brain specimens, in very well-done display cases. I drove a little more north to Dinosaur State Park. Dinosaur footprints were excavated in the 1960's, and they erected a dome directly over the fossils. It was awesome to walk right near the fossils, which haven't been disturbed from their resting place. There were also some short nature walks nearby, with the swamp walk reminding me of the one near my house in Buffalo. I shot through Massachusetts (not that exciting) to get to Vermont, the main goal of the trip. I stopped in Bellows Falls and wandered around (everything was closed) to find the mysterious petroglyphs (found 'em!). After a short detour across a bridge into New Hampshire (just because), I went to Cavendish to see a small plaque recognizing Phineas Gage's accident with the railroad spike. I then headed along route 100 past some beautiful semi-frozen lakes, driving through Killington, to reach the Ben & Jerry's factory. I wasn't able to take a tour, but I did enjoy some maple walnut ice cream, only sold in Vermont. I finally made it to Burlington, meeting up with another urology applicant at Revolution Kitchen. We timed our dinner perfectly, getting the chance to see the sunset over Lake Champlain and getting some maple creamey (AKA soft serve). They went home, but I went to the Crow Bookshop and found a ton of great books. Having enough, I headed to my AirBNB to get some well-deserved rest.

Day's Mileage: 488

Total Mileage: 998 (333/day)

States Visited: Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire

Total States Visited: 8

Day 4: Burlington VT to Montreal QB

STOPS: Biosphere, Insectarium and Botanical Gardens, La Banquise, Schwartz's

I slept in a bit this morning and was woken up by the AirBNB's cat treading on my pillow. The AirBNB person made me french toast (with Vermont maple syrup!) then I was back on the road. I stopped by the Champ "monument", the world's tallest filing cabinet (not very tall), and a tiny park with weird statues in a shopping center. before heading to Canada. Getting to Montreal, I checked out the environmental museum in the Biosphere from the 1967 expo. Not getting enough environment, I went to the Insectarium to look at live and pinned insects, then the botanical gardens nearby. I'm not a plant person, but it was super cool. They have an entire greenhouse with fruit and other food-related plants. Tired of walking, I drove to La Banquise for some authentic Montreal poutine. I ate it in a nearby park, listening to each cheese curd squeak. I tried going to a store that sells carved wooden penises, but it turns out it closed... I took a detour to find the street we used to stay on for Montreal band trips, then drove through some park (all the signs are in French so I don't know what it's called) and wandered around the trails to find a good view of downtown. Couldn't find any, but I did find a giant cross on a hill. I then went to Schwartz's for a smoked meat sandwich, which I will be dining on shortly. An interesting day in French Canada.

Day's Mileage: 126

Total Mileage: 1124 (281/day)

States Visited: Vermont, Quebec

Total States Visited: 8+1

Day 5: Montreal QB to Toronto ON

STOPS: St. Viateur's Bagels, Canadian Museum of Nature, ByWard Market, Canadian Parliament

Today I slept in again then walked to St. Viateur's for the famous Montreal bagel. Sooooooo good! I made my way through the horrific Montreal traffic to get to Ottawa and the Canadian Museum of Nature. I've noticed that Canadian museums tend to have more informative exhibits than their American counterparts. Commentary on the average visitor, or just coincidence? I had some other plans for Ottawa, but decided to walk around the ByWard market and see Parliament. There were some beautiful memorials, including the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. I needed to get to Toronto but was delayed by rough traffic, horrible highway signs, and losing my GPS directions which required a wi-fi signal to start. But I finally made it! I stayed at my friend's house with some med-student buddies and we watched the Cavs crush Toronto.

Day's Mileage: 399

Total Mileage: 1523 (305/day)

States/Provinces Visited: Quebec, Ontario

Total States Visited: 8+2

Day 6: Toronto Adventures

STOPS: Tremendous Chinese Buffet, Ripley's Aquarium, Chinatown, Sin and Redemption, ***

Some more sleeping in, then we packed up and went for dim sum at the Tremendous Chinese Buffet. I chipped a tooth eating a "chinese doughnut," wonderful. We drove downtown, parked the cars, then wandered our way to the CN tower and the aquarium. Ripley's is probably one of the best aquariums I've been to. It's well-organized and they have plenty of common and unique critters. They even had a deep-sea isopod! Still having time to kill, we went to Chinatown for bubble tea and hung out near a dog park. We got a drink at my friend's favorite bar from college, Sin and Redemption, then (partially) avoided the high wind warning by taking the subway to our dinner destination. We ate at Tinuno where they put the food on the table and you eat with your hands! We went to C'est What? but we were all pretty tired so we didn't stay out too long, crashing downtown at a friend's place.

Day's Mileage: 29

Total Mileage: 1552 (259/day)

States/Provinces Visited: Ontario

Total States/Provinces Visited: 8+2

Day 7: Toronto ON to Cleveland OH

STOPS: Buffaloooooo

Time to head home! We got breakfast then got back on the road to Cleveland. There was a strangely large amount of traffic on the way to the border but we made it. I stopped by Buffalo to see my parents and sister before completing the final step of my journey.

Day's Mileage: 318

Total Mileage: 1870 (267/day)

States/Provinces Visited: Ontario, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio

Total States/Provinces Visited: 8+2