26. Connecticut

Connecticut was our last state on the mission to knock out the Northeast this summer. We swung through on our way back from Maine. In part, to get the glasses I had left there two days before… but I’ll explain that in a minute.

We stopped in CT on our way *up* to Maine, too! We spent Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-18,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-Ythe night in Hartford and then got amazing donuts from a very unassuming shop called Neil’s Donuts. ROADTRIP FUEL!

It’s ranked as one of the best donut shops in all of Connecticut, and I can see why!

Our trip back through Connecticut involved two of the most important B’s: Beer and a Beach.

We didn’t want to pay $50 for parking as out-of-staters, as most beaches charge on the weekends (yes, seriously). So somehow Matt dug up a free beach that ended up being fantastic: Silver Sands State Park. You can tell they’re making major improvements to it, but it was a perfect spot to lay in the sun for a few hours.

 

Then — we cleaned up a bit (read: changed in the car) and went to my favorite brewery of our whole Maine/Connecticut trip: Two Roads Brewing. This place was HUGE and had a fantastic selection of beers! We liked them all!

IMG_20180616_160524Our last stop in Connecticut was a personal mission: GET BACK MY GLASSES! On our way up, I left them in the hotel room! The whole time we were camping, I had to put one contact in a deodorant cap and the other in the cap of a dry shampoo bottle… and I was blind the second I took them out. THANKFULLY, my mom was able to call the hotel (We didn’t have cell service!) and they saved them for me! Victory!

Thanks for your good beer and good customer service, Connecticut!

25. Maine

HALFWAY THERE!! Our 25th state on the quest to visit all 50 is… Maine! And it was a big trip. First of all, we drove the whole 11.5 hours to Bar Habor and Acadia National Park. Secondly, we camped. For the first time ever. In my childhood tent. In the rain. More on that later…

Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-18,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-YWe made a quick stop outside of Portland for delicious BBQ at Noble Meats and drinks at Allagash Brewing (Allagash White is my go-to, so it was awesome to visit its home!). We then continued north to Orono where Matt ran the University of Maine track, before making the trek toward Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park.

These kinds of trips are, by far, my favorite kind. You’re on your own time. You don’t have to wear makeup or real clothes. You can put your phone on airplane mode and breathe in fresh air and have dirty hair and eat Cheetos for lunch and not care what anyone else is thinking of you.

That said, we knew we were going to go without showers for a few days, so we got dinner within civilization on our first night… before we got smelly. Two Maine lobsters, a pound of mussels, and corn for $40 total. SIGN ME UP.

IMG_20180614_072801.jpgOur first night camping was… IN TENTS. (hAAAAHAhahaha) Really… it rained during our stay at Blackwoods Campground and the KMart tent my parents bought for me 18 years ago just couldn’t hold up and started to leak. Luckily, we sopped things up before anything got too wet. It also didn’t help that we were sleeping on yoga mats and it did enough damage that the next night was miserable.

Anyway, we spent the whole day hiking and driving around Acadia! We found it to be a little like the Disney World of the national parks. Pretty much everything is accessible by car and has a bathroom nearby, so there’s not much incentive to hike for hours if you don’t have to work for the view. There were loads of other visitors (even though we visited on a weekday, before th

e height of tourist season)… and I can see why! The views are breathtaking and the trails are easy to follow. IMG_20180614_184115.jpg

We ended a full, full day of walking and exploring with beers and burgers on a hastily-made campfire!

My favorite part, though, was waking up at 3am to watch a foggy sunrise on Cadillac Mountain. Matt is such a great travel partner, because he’s not only down for — but EXCITED FOR – things like that.

We took the coastal route back home, stopping in Portland along the way for a full pie, more beers at Liquid Riot and a pretty lighthouse backdrop at Portland Head in Cape Elizabeth.

You can see the awesome sunrise, plus more pictures and us awkwardly setting up our ten in the video below!

24. Rhode Island

Our trip to Rhode Island was a quick but relaxing one. As soon as we got off the plane in Boston, we rented a car and drove right to Rhode Island (tip: we took free public transportation into the city and rented from a facility *away* from the airport for a much lower price… I think the rental was under $40 for 24 hours).

We went straight to the coast. Newport was a little chilly, but we walked a few miles on the Cliff Walk, which was stunning and so peaceful the whole way around! We then drove down into Newport for lunch before heading north.

On our way back up to Providence (where we spent the night, since it was dramatically less expensive than Newport), we stopped at Revival Brewing Co and Buttonwoods Brewing for a few beers. I love trips like this — because we are on our time and no one else’s.

We spent the night in Providence, grabbing donuts in the morning at the unique and colorful PV Donuts.

But… Matt needed to get a track! The fences around Brown were insanely high, and we determined the night before that there was no hope of jumping them. We went back in the morning, and to our surprise, there were professional runners training on the track! We walked over, explained Matt’s goal to them, and they let him take a lap. I talked to one of the older guys there, a coach, who explained one of them is Molly Huddle‘s husband! (She is an Olympian and one of the fastest women in the country).

Matt’s now only a few universities away from running all of the Ivy League tracks! Thank you, Rhode Island, for a quick and relaxing visit!

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23. Massachusetts

I am posting this really… REALLY late. But we spent our early summer knocking out the Northeast!

We spent a long weekend in Massachusetts (including a quick roadtrip to Rhode Island), because we got flights to Boston for $50 round trip!

Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-18,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-YOur first win: renting Blue Bikes. We discovered them after spending 35 minutes in an Uber to just go a few miles. The city’s dockable bike system is useful and cheap for getting around, and drivers are fairly friendly to cyclists. We logged more than 20 miles  on the app in 24 hours… going all over the city for just $10!

 

Matt’s Boston visit included (of course) a run around the Harvard track. We then bounced around and visited the public library, public gardens, the North End (hello, fresh seafood pasta), and had a drink at the Bell in Hand Tavern.

The highlight of the trip, though, was something I found on AirBnB Experiences and made a surprise for Matt. We took a 2-hour sailing lesson on the Boston Harbor with Courageous Sailing (for just $35 a person)! Our instructor, Ben, was a college student who has been sailing competitively all his life. He was so knowledgeable and let us take control of the boat. The views were incredible and it was such a unique way to get away from the tourists and see Boston in a whole new way.

 

Our second day, we got delicious donuts at Blackbird, stopped at Lamplighter Brewing, grabbed a beer at Bleacher Bar (an awesome spot in the belly of Fenway), went to a Red Sox Game! Boston, we will be back!

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21. New York

nyc2New York Pro Tip: If you want to beat the tourist crowds, just do all your touring when it’s 40 and raining!

Our 20th state was New York, and involved a quick trip to New York City. Matt had never visited, but I interned at a TV station there in college and was able to concoct a pretty walkable itinerary that hit all the big tourist spots — and four boroughs!

Also: bagels. We ate so many bagels. 

We got to New York by MegaBus from Baltimore, which I do not recommend if you want to sit next to your travel buddy. The bus starts in DC, so by the time it stops in Baltimore, most of the rows are taken by single travelers already settled into a nap and not interested in relocating.

If you’ve been to New York City, chances are, you’ve seen *most*of the things we saw on the first half of our trip! We started with bagels (duh)… then headed to the 9/11 Memorial, made our way down to the Staten Island Ferry to see Lady Liberty from a dreary distance, stopped at Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange, walked halfway down and back on the Brooklyn Bridge, had lunch in Little Italy, then saw/became trapped in a Chinese New Year Parade in Chinatown.

Again, though… it was 40 and raining. I had the pleasure of drying my socks and shoes with a hand dryer in the bathroom of the Staten Island Ferry station.

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With the storm nearly over, we hopped on a subway to Brooklyn, where I was d-y-i-n-g to try a Rainbow Bagel from this viral video. It was bright, delicious, filled with amazing funfetti cream cheese, and worth the extra subway stops! We then walked to the Brooklyn Brewery, and after one very expensive plastic cup of beer, realized we had totally finished our list of stuff to do on the first day! So, we went to the Bronx!

Matt ran a great track with an amazing view at Macombs Dam Park, in the shadow of Yankee Stadium. We then Ubered over to the Bronx Brewery! We  Finally, we ended our day back in Manhattan at one of my old favorites: McSorley’s Old Ale House (One light and one dark, please!)

 

All of that was just the FIRST DAY! Our trip also included Times Square, Rockefeller Plaza, Central Park, MORE BAGELS OF COURSE, a quick stop outside my old internship at ABC7 NY, a $1 slice of delicious pizza, and walking the High Line before we got on the bus.

Matt saved a lot of money by, once again, using the Priceline Bid Tool. We stayed at Even Hotel, which is brand new and modern and clean and even has cool trendy workout equipment in the room. Matt got the room for about $80 a night (with taxes and fees it wound up being about $200 total for both nights, still about $110 cheaper than if we had booked on their site). We also saved money by walking a LOT and reloading MetroCards to use the subway when necessary.

One more thing: Monday, after we checked out of the hotel, we used Vertoe luggage checking service so we didn’t have to lug our bags around. They have many locations around the city, and charged us about $12 to stash our backpacks behind the counter of a souvenir store for the day. What a great idea!!

Overall, for an expensive city, we KILLED this trip and had a great time!

Thanks for reading!! Only 30 more states to go!!

-Devin and Matt

15. Vermont & 16. New Hampshire

In October, we took our annual “birthdays” trip to Vermont and New Hampshire! We bounced between the two several times, and did a few great hikes. And the best part: we saw a moose!!

The biggest and most challenging part of the trip was hiking Franconia Ridge! National Geographic named it one of the top 10 most “Mind Blowing” hikes in the world…. and it certainly lived up to its name!

Here’s our video of our trip — and of course, Matt pushing me out of the hammock:

 

Thanks for reading about our latest adventure!!
You can check out our full list of breweries and tracks in every state we’ve visited.
Be sure to follow (link on the right sidebar!) and you’ll get a quick email when we post something new!
-Devin and Matt 

50 First States: An Introduction

Welcome to our blog!

IMG_5466.jpg We are Devin and Matt: a Pittsburgh transplant and a displaced Minnesotan, respectively. Right now, we live on the East Coast and together, we love four things:

  1. Tracks
  2. Breweries
  3. Hiking
  4. Exploring new cities

Matt, a recovering track star, started a goal of running every track in the state of Minnesota right around the time we met. He made it to 233 before we moved.

Conveniently, before I met Matt, I was on a mission to visit every brewery I could! (Much less healthy, arguably more fun). I made it to 21 unique breweries in Minnesota.

Now that we’re together and living in a more travel-friendly area of the U.S., we’ve decided to visit all 50 states together.

There’s one catch: we are CHEAP people.  

Follow our adventures as we seek the best hikes and the best tastes in every state — on a serious budget!