Greetings From Maine!

Posted on August 12, 2010 by Mickey

Courtney and I are on the road this week, checking out what’s old in New England and leaving an acute shortage of lobster and local beer in our wake. We had the extreme pleasure of getting dragged all over the greater Boston area for the past four days by fellow Greenist NPW (who also let us crash on her floor for the duration.) Bonus points were scored on Monday when we met up with Howling Hill for lunch and some sightseeing, making it an even four Greenists tromping around the north end of Beantown. For an afternoon at least, Boston was green-blogger central.

During our journey over the past week, we’ve had plenty of opportunities to contemplate some of the impacts of traveling and the stark differences between the city we came from, Atlanta, and the places we’ve been traveling through:

- Free hotel breakfasts waste  a whole mess of styrofoam plates and plastic utensils. I was really happy to have scored some reasonable lodgings through that included breakfast, and the food on offer wasn’t too bad, but the petroleum-based garbage created as a result was discouraging. Next time, I hope I can remember to travel with my own mug and cutlery to cut down on some of this unnecessary waste.

- In the northeast, public transportation is for real. In Atlanta, and I’m sure lots of other cities, it seems to be an afterthought. While it was necessary to drive from NPW’s house into the city, we always parked near a T station and rode the rest of the way downtown on Boston’s great transit system. It goes places people want to be and the people of Boston, visitors and residents alike, use it. In Atlanta, public transportation is treated strictly as a way for people without cars to get around, not as a way to get people out of their cars.

- The people of New England support local business. Anyone who visits the northeast from other parts of the country should notice the proliferation of mom-and-pop pizzerias. All over I see places like Pat’s Pizza or Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, national advertising campaigns nowhere in site.

- I support local business, too. How can you not when that includes so much great seafood and beer? Courtney and I both had lobster rolls for dinner last night in Portland and then wandered down to the wharf and took some pictures of lobster pots stacked on the docks. About one city block from boat to plate- how great is that?

- Yep, we drove here, and that’s a lot of gasoline. There were two of us in the car though, and the car is a Honda Civic, and we were getting 40 mpg. That beats an airplane, or so they tell me. Sure, we could have ridden our bikes or jogged the 1,000+ miles each way, but that wouldn’t have fit our schedule and I’ve made my peace with it. I don’t necessarily like the impact we’ve had, but somebody had to come up here and check on New England.


  1. I probably *should* jog home to work off all those lobster rolls and beers.

    August 12th, 2010 at 9:55 am
    Comment by Courtney
  2. I’m glad you’ve enjoyed your stay in our little corner of the US.

    An interesting thing you picked up on: the amount of mom and pop places around these parts. I wouldn’t have thought much about that but you’re right, there are lots of them. However, I have seen an increase in the amount of corporate places which are often full of consumers.

    Another interesting point in your post is the use of public transportation. I’m pretty positive you can get from NPWs to Boston by taking the Commuter Rail which is connected to the T but is a separate entity.

    Getting from where I live in central NH to Boston isn’t easy. There’s been lots of talk about bringing the train back to NH which would be awesome.

    August 12th, 2010 at 10:32 am
    Comment by Howling Hill
  3. My kind of traveling!

    On the free breakfast stuff — I noticed the last time I was staying at a Hampton Inn that they were promoting the fact they were using biodegradable plates and cutlery for their free breakfast. Except all of those things were still GOING IN THE TRASH when people were done with them, which of course defeats the whole biodegradable purpose.

    August 12th, 2010 at 12:45 pm
    Comment by The Modern Gal
  4. Oh, the mounds of styrofoam at hotel breakfasts drives me batty, too. As does the lack of usable public transportation in my city. Glad you guys are having such a great trip! I am jealous of your Boston meet-up.

    P.S. So sorry to knock your post down from top position before the day was up, but I had a contest winner to announce! I hope you don’t mind. :-)

    August 12th, 2010 at 5:22 pm
    Comment by Stefanie
  5. So true about the waste of those free breakfasts. If you want to see a real environmental disaster, check out a school lunchroom that uses styrofoam trays – with a separate plastic square for each item on the tray. (Does an apple really need a container?)

    Oh, we discuss it every year and the students write letters every year, but the waste continues to outlive all of us.

    [By the way, we're designated as an official Green School.]

    August 13th, 2010 at 11:40 am
    Comment by Lynn

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