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a florida day, a new england mini-vacation

Today is the type of day that "feels like Florida", so to speak. It's the feeling you get right after stepping outside when you stop, look up at the trees and sky, take it all in and enjoy where you are.

I got this feeling back in New England during the Autumn months from mid-September until early November. Steel blue mornings following by vibrant blue afternoons with a bright-but-not-too-bright sun, then into cool blue evenings. Unfortunately this won't happen in New England for another seven months. And in fact the region where I used to live will probably get blasted with snow and/or sleet over the next 3 days. January and February are the two crappiest months to live in New England, after all.

Since moving to FL in '06 I said one of these years I was going to go back for a visit up north for a few days in October. Will I be able to do this in 2010? Possibly. There's fiscal crapola I have to get out of the way first, then decide whether I want to go there by car, by train, by flight or use a combination.

If I fly and opt to use a non-stop, the total travel time each way is around 6 hours. The flight itself is only 3, but of course you have to show up to board 2 hours in advance, and then after touchdown it takes forever to get off the frickin' plane.

By train, I can get from TPA (Tampa) to FOX (Foxwoods) for well under $200. The only problem is that it takes almost 22 hours to complete the trip.

By car, the total travel time is about a day and a half. Total driving time is 24 hours, but I'd obviously stop to sleep once which is where the extra time comes in.

I could opt to use car and train. I drive up to Sanford FL, park my car in the Auto Train, take a trip to Lorton VA and then drive the rest of the way to New England which takes about 7 hours. And if that sounds like a long time, trust me it isn't. It would take almost 24 hours if I drove all the way from Tampa to New England. The Auto Train trip is slow going (17 hours, 30 minutes) and adds time to the trip, but does so in a way that I don't mind. That train has private bedrooms, showers and all meals are included. It's more or less a rolling motel. Basically what I'm looking at is around 27-ish hours of travel each way. There's 2 from Tampa to Sanford, 17.5 from Sanford to Lorton, then 7 from Lorton to New England.

The fastest - and most expensive - way to get there is by plane.

The cheapest way to get there is by car, assuming the gas prices stay as they are right now.

The comfortable way is by train.

The most comfortable way is by car + train.

Interesting choices, to be sure.

I also have to figure out how many days I plan to spend there and moreover where I plan to stay once I arrive. I can go to my sister's place, or Ben's, or Kat's or rent a room at any number of hotels.

The problem here is that there are three places I want to go to, one of which is far off the beaten path.

The first place is, obviously, the stomping grounds in Killingly. I'd putt around there and snap many photos.

Second is Webster MA. I spent a lot of time there as a kid. There's not necessarily anything to see there as it's just a personal thing for me.

Third is Mt. Greylock State Reservation. This is the one that's out of the way over on the west side of Massachusetts, just north of Pittsfield. Even if I stayed with Kat (who is closest to it) and she wanted to head up there with me, it'd still take us over 2 hours to get there.

You gotta love those New England roads where it takes forever just to get anywhere.

Killingly and Webster are easy to do, but it's Greylock that's the pain in the ass. It's going to take some good planning to pull off this trip, that's for sure.


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