The Ultimate Breaking Bad Road Trip

Benjamin Goddard Photography

This post references events from the series finale of Breaking Bad. If you haven’t yet seen the episode, don’t read any further.*****

During last night’s Breaking Bad series finale, Walter White drives a stolen Volvo nearly 3,000 miles from New Hampshire to New Mexico.

Although he’s estranged from nearly everyone in his life at this point, under different circumstances the cross-country trek would have made for an excellent family road trip, filled with fun for the whole extended White/Schrader clan. So gas up the RV and hit the road with this Breaking Bad-inspired road trip, bitch.

First up is a stop at the Herkimer Diamond Mine in Herkimer, New York, where Hank could search for rocks — ahem, I mean minerals — to his heart’s content. Alas, the mine’s name is a bit of a misnomer, you’re actually much more apt to find cheap quartz crystals than actual diamonds. Admission is $10 for adults and $8 for children.

Marie would love a visit to the Lambert Castle Museum in Paterson, New Jersey, where she can take in the world’s largest collection of antique and souvenir spoons. The 5,400 spoons come from as far away as Egypt and Holland and are extremely rare, so please refrain from slipping one discreetly in your purse.

No Breaking Bad-inspired cross-country trek would be complete without a visit to the Chemical Heritage Foundation’s museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Walter White could spend hours visiting the various exhibits, including the aptly titled Sensing Change and Making Modernity. Asking how to properly cook blue sky is frowned upon though. Admission is free.

Before entering the museum, be sure to swing by Hats in the Belfry on South Street to pick up your own black porkpie hat and shades.

By this time, Walt, Jr. would have probably worked himself up quite an appetite. Flynn, a true breakfast aficionado, would appreciate Papa’s Pancake House in Indianapolis. Order the eggs, hashbrowns and bacon, and if it’s your birthday, don’t forget to spell out your age with the fried pig meat.

(Papa’s fried chicken is pretty good as well, but perhaps not as tasty as Twisters in Alburqurque, which served as Los Pollos Hermanos’ stand-in.)

There can be such a thing as too much family time, so Skyler might want to get in some more pool time. The Joule Hotel in Dallas, Texas, features an incredible rooftop infinity pool that sticks out eight feet from the building’s exterior.

What would you add? Where do you think would Jesse go? Where would Saul want to visit? After the road trip, who would head straight to Belize?

The End Of 'Breaking Bad'

Roadside America: Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire

Over a hundred years ago, my great-great Uncle Bob built a small cabin to relax overlooking New Hampshire‘s Lake Winnipesaukee, about two hours from Boston. Little did he know that the Lakes Region would later become a point of pilgrimage for thousands of bikers and gamers each year, as it hosts the annual Laconia Motorcycle week in June and arcade enthusiasts year round to the American Classic Arcade Museum. Like many other generations before me, I spent many summers playing skee-ball, building sandcastles, and angling for more money to spend on penny candy. Now that I’m old enough to have honeymooned at Uncle Bob’s old cabin and taken my own daughter there, I still love the old-school feel of the place and hope nothing changes by the time my grandchildren run out of batteries on their iPhone 25s and want some old-fashioned fun. Here are some favorite destinations that have been around for generations past and hopefully, more to come.

Old Country Store
(Moultonborough) – This store was ancient even when Uncle Bob was a tyke (possibly the oldest in the country), and still offers a range of penny candy, pickles from a barrel, and loads of maple and pine treats. You’ll also find kitchen utensils you didn’t even know existed, a map room (mostly New Hampshire/New England) and more moose-themed items than is probably necessary. Be sure to sit on the porch with the cigar store Indian, check out the museum upstairs, and spend a dime or two on the old player piano.

Funspot (Laconia) – Open 60 years this year, Funspot is the largest arcade in the world. It gained real fame when it was featured in the documentary “The King of Kong” for the annual video game tournament at the aforementioned arcade museum. In addition to video games, there’s bowling, bingo, and mini-golf. If you are not a parent or a kid at heart, you can chill out at the tavern with free Wi-Fi too.

Weirs Beach – The Weirs Beach website says they’ve been a place for family fun since the 1950s, but the history goes back much earlier. Weirs is at its peak in summer, where you can ride the waterslides, drive bumper cars, or just hang out on the beach. There’s even a variety of nightlife in season, with fireworks, live bands, and a host of bars.

Corner House Inn (Sandwich) – One of the few independent restaurants open year round, the Corner House dates back over 150 years. You can’t rent a room anymore (they need all the room for hungry diners), but you can enjoy the fire and food for dinner daily. Check out the site for special events, such as storytelling dinners in fall and Friday night music in the pub.

Ames Farm Inn (Gilford) – Open since 1890, the Ames Farm Inn is currently operated by the fourth and fifth generation of family. Choose from cozy rooms or lakeside cabins to stay, or stop for a country breakfast or early lunch in summer.

Castle in the Clouds (Moultonborough) – As a kid, I was a wee bit disappointed that there was no princess at the Castle in the Clouds, but I still enjoyed the nature walks, the views of the lake, and exploring the old mansion dating back to 1914. You can also go horseback riding and meet Zeus, the largest horse in the world. It’s open May to October, with some additional special events in fall for the holidays.

Half Moon Motel and Cottages (Weirs Beach) – Though my ancestor was once an owner of the grand old New Weirs Hotel, I don’t get any discount to stay at the Half Moon Motel and Cottages, built up from the 1930s tea room built on the former hotel grounds and family-owned since the 1950s. With probably the best location in the Lakes Region, every cottage and motel room has views of Lake Winnipesaukee and the mountains, and free Wi-Fi too.

E.M. Health (Center Harbor)- While you may not usually see a supermarket in a travel story, it’s even more rare to see a family-owned store not only survive six decades but thrive. As a kid, my family’s first stop would be at E.M. Heath for groceries, and it’s since expanded to include a hardware store, photo desk and other services, and it’s still true to its slogan: “Dealer in most everything.”

[Photo credit: timsackton via Flickr]

Mount Washington, The Highest Peak In The Northeastern United States

mount washington As the wind whipped my hair in my face and the bitter chill nipped my skin, I pulled my leather jacket in tighter. Clouds enveloped me, making my line of sight difficult. It was hard to believe that just this morning I had been sitting under clear sunny skies eating a bagel and reading a magazine.

I was at the summit of Mount Washington. At 6,288 feet, it is the highest peak in the northeastern United States. Not only that, it’s also home to the Mount Washington Observatory where the “highest wind ever observed by man” was recorded. During a violent storm on April 12, 1934, the crew’s instruments measured a wind velocity of 231 miles per hour. After learning that, I felt pretty thankful to only have to be dealing with getting hair in my mouth.

There are many ways to reach the summit. For the adventurous, hiking to the top is an option. You’ll trek up Crawford Path, which was first laid out in 1819 and is said to be the oldest hiking trail in America. You can also opt to drive the Mount Washington Auto Road, which is 8 miles long and starts from the eastern side of the mountain in Pinkham Notch. Admission costs $25 per vehicle, and $8 per additional adult. For a historical journey, ride the Mount Washington Cog Railway, the world’s oldest mountain climbing cog railway that has been transporting people up the mountain since 1869.

No matter what way you choose, you’ll get encompassing mountain, forest and valley views and journey through several climate zones. At the top, you’ll be immersed in the clouds, and will be able to visit the Mount Washington Observatory Museum and the Tip-Top House, a restored historic hotel from 1853.

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[Image above via Shutterstock; Gallery images via Jessie on a Journey]

Bringing My Love Of Backpacking Home

food “One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things” – Henry Miller

Every year, I spend months saving money for backpacking trips abroad and learning about the foreign cultures I’ll be visiting. The farther away from home and the more exotic the destination, the more value I put on the trip. It wasn’t that I didn’t think cities drivable from my home weren’t worthwhile; but I wanted to experience unknown local delicacies, mountainous landscapes, ecofriendly villages, rich history, interesting communities and just a place that was generally different from my home of Long Island, New York. How could I possibly do that without getting on a plane?

My friend Mike recently invited me to come visit him in Rhode Island. I agreed, expecting nothing more than a long weekend of photographing Newport mansions, going for drinks in Providence and just relaxing on the beach. Surprisingly, the jaunt turned into a mini road trip of New England, as well as an eye-opening experience about how to find culture in your own backyard.1673Rhode Island

“What’s a lobster roll? And Rhode Island has it’s own clam chowder?” I asked Mike as we perused the numerous cafe signs wandering the streets of Newport.

Apparently, a lobster roll has nothing to do with sushi, as I had assumed, but is fresh cooked lobster meat tossed with mayonnaise and served on a grilled hot dog bun. Additionally, Rhode Island clam chowder is a local favorite, with a clear broth, potatoes, onions, bacon and quahogs. Both were delicious, and I couldn’t believe I’d gone 25 years without sampling either.

“Now we’ve got to get you some Coffee Milk,” said Mike, telling me about the state’s official drink. “It’s like chocolate milk, only with coffee syrup instead.”

Continuing our tour through Newport, I was able to sip a classic cocktail at America’s oldest tavern and learn about the history of the famous Newport Mansions, embodying 250 years of history and featuring among the highest number of surviving colonial buildings of any city in the country. Providence, the city I knew only for its bars, actually proved quite historical with a walk down Benefit Street. Immersing myself in 18th century architecture, it was hard to imagine that I was only three hours from home.

hiking New Hampshire

Next we were off to Franconia, New Hampshire. As we drove toward The Granite State, sea-level landscape transformed into mountain peaks reaching over 4,000 feet. The sense of adrenaline I only get while backpacking immediately washed over me, and I again I forgot I wasn’t all that far from home.

Mike and I spent three days hiking the Appalachian Trail, swimming in lakes and waterfalls and summiting Mount Washington, the highest mountain in the northeastern United States at 6,288 feet. I called my
mom excitedly about my newly discovered landmark, just as I had when hiking in the Andes in South America and the Blue Mountains in Australia.

The downtown area where Mike and I went for a nice dinner on our last night in town reminded me of some of the small towns I often visit abroad.

“This is the theater district,” Mike joked, pointing to a group of older men playing guitar at a one-stop pizza/ice cream/T-shirt shop, which was adjacent to an all-in-one dry cleaning/postal/Internet cafe/dog daycare. We walked across the street to the locally famous “Dutch Treat,” where I was once again introduced to a new meal, a burger topped with a flaky crab cake. While not authentic New Hampshire cuisine per say, it still made me feel like I do on backpacking trips when I’m able to find a cozy local restaurant selling a never-before-tasted food.

windham hill inn Vermont

In Vermont, I experienced a degree of culture shock. It began at the Windham Hill Inn in West Townsend, a beautiful hotel in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by the rolling hills of the Green Mountains, peaceful meadows and colorful gardens. The inside smelled of fresh-roasted granola, and locally made teddy bears adorned each room. I thought the emphasis on local products and country living was unique to the hotel; however, journeying into the nearby towns showed me southern Vermont was passionate about going local and community closeness. In fact, I didn’t see one chain establishment during the five days I was there.

In Brattleboro, almost every shop had a sign advising people to “go local.” Remnants of the town’s rich hippie culture from the 1970s are still visible, as you weave in and out of the many bead stores, eclectic galleries and laid-back cafes and bars. Colorful signs advertising events like poetry slams, indie film screenings, farmers markets, environmental workshops and fiddle contests abound, and it isn’t surprising to find locals fighting for moral cause.

Venturing off to the small village of Chester, I was transported to a time when Late Victorian, Colonial Revival and Federal-style architecture was the norm. In Chester, it still is. I was astounded by the depth of warmth conveyed by the city. Wandering down Lovers Lane as well as nibbling on scones at Inn Victoria‘s high tea and playing with the 10,000 plus teddy bears at Hugging Bear Inn and Toy Shoppe helped me experience an unusual culture.

Before heading home, we stopped in Grafton, and sampled some of Vermont’s local cheeses made with raw milk from nearby farmers as well as Vermont maple syrup candies at Grafton Village Cheese. Here I purchased souvenirs from the trip, Pure Maple Butter for my mom and Palmer Lane Maple Jelly Beans for my dad. I felt like such a tourist, but in a good way.

Going Home

For me, the trip wasn’t a “staycation,” “nearcation,” or any other “nearby getaway” term that implies escaping from reality to relax. Instead, it was a chance to experience cultures different from my own, learn about interesting pieces of history and sample foods I had never tried. I discovered new sites, sounds, flavors and lifestyles, but most importantly, I discovered a new way to travel by bringing my love of backpacking home.

Hilton Garden Inn In New Hampshire Is The Site Of A Dine And Dash Failure


WHDH-TV –

A man landed himself in the hospital this week after impaling himself on a fence at a Hilton Garden Inn in Manchester, New Hampshire, where he got stuck attempting to flee before paying his bill.

Reuters reports that the 30-year-old North Carolina man, whose name has not been released, was impaled when he tried to jump a fence near the hotel. Fire crews were called to the scene around 11:30 p.m. Saturday evening and had to use metal cutters and hydraulic cutting tools as well as a saw to get him free, according to the Manchester Union Leader.

The man was taken to an area hospital, where reports seem to indicate that he is still doing well, despite having 18 inches of fence still in his leg when he arrived.

“He was actually in pretty good shape. He was texting and making phone calls. He was very cooperative,” said Lt. Max Chiasson, Manchester Fire Department, to WHDH news.

No word yet on whether the man has been released or whether the hotel will press charges. We’re pretty sure that the man has gotten “stuck” in enough trouble already, although we hope he has to pay his bill and the cost of the damage to the fence.