Northeast: Part Three Of My 8,500 Mile U.S. Road Trip
My experience of driving through the South was a memorable one, but I was looking forward to making my up northeast and getting a taste of what many consider to be some of the world's greatest cities. I had previously visited our nation's capital Washington D.C., and New York City on a trip in elementary school. I remember how much of an impression that trip made on me, it may even be what planted the seed for my thirst of exploration, which has since blossomed into The Modern Day Explorer. But I could only imagine how much I would love these two cities now as an adult.
As I made my way up from Savannah, I knew I was finally getting close to Washington D.C. when it seemed like just about every exit was for a historic battlefield. I would of loved to have stopped and seen where some of our nation's most instrumental battles took place, but unfortunately I had no time... so I resorted to remembering scenes of Mel Gibson going completely Rambo on the movie The Patriot as I drove by. After driving for a little while longer I knew I had arrived, I was instantly greeted by one of the world's most recognizable structures... the Washington Monument. At that moment, I was reliving memories I had of walking around Washington D.C. as a child completely in awe of man's creations.
After a good nights sleep and feeling refreshed after driving through three states, I was ready to explore everything that Washington D.C. had to offer. I opted to go with Historic Tours of America and just like in Key West, they provided me with some of Washington's top things to do and see. I started my day by hoping on their Old Town Trolley Tour. It took me through all of the museums, memorials, and monuments, but my favorite part about the tour was how incredibly funny the drivers were!
The Lincoln Memorial was by far one of my favorite memorials, not only because he was such an influential person but because the memorial itself has played a key role in many of our nation's most pivotal events. After walking up the steps and staring back at the Washington Monument as its reflection bounces back to you from the pool, one can't help but to be reminded of the sacrifices that were made by the people before us in order to make the United States what it is today. It's special moments like these that remind me why I believe that exploration is the essence of the human spirit.
After days full of monuments, memorials, museums and reflection... it was time to take a bite out of the "Big Apple!" But before that bite, I made sure to visit a library! I know what you're thinking, a "library!?" Yes a library, but not just any library, the George Peabody Library. It was the most incredible interior that I had ever seen, and it's even considered to be one of the most beautiful interiors in the world. I wish I could say that this article was written while sitting inside of this historic place, but instead I snapped dozens of photos and probably annoyed at least one person.
And there it was... the Empire State Building... the Chrysler Building... the Brooklyn Bridge! Some of the world's most iconic landmarks all in one place. As much as I love being out in nature, there's something unique and special about New York. The sights, the sounds, the smells, it's unlike any other city in the world. As someone who grew up just a short drive from Los Angeles, I can tell you New York is Los Angeles on steroids.
First order of business was to try some authentic pizza from Lombardi's, which is said to be the first pizzeria in America. Even though I hadn't had pizza in months I knew that what I had just ate was unbelievable, it was better than the pizza I had in Italy... and that's saying a lot.
It was a cold morning in Brooklyn but nevertheless I woke up at the crack of dawn ready to explore. One of my favorite things to do whenever exploring a new place has been to wake up early and get a head start. When everything is silent and less busy, shopkeepers are preparing to open, and tourist are fast asleep. I enjoyed the views of Manhattan from Brooklyn Bridge Park, walked across the iconic Brooklyn Bridge into the city, paid tribute to the victims of 911, and sipped a coffee in front of the Flatiron Building.
New York was an experience that I will always remember, and a city that I plan to revisit soon. It's one of the most diverse and fast-paced places on the planet, but amongst the chaos is an abundance of beauty.
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About The Author
In 2015, Founder of TMDE Paul Martinez left a career in sales for a life of exploring. In just a matter of months he had visited over 10 countries, 30 cities, 10 states, countless national parks, taken thousands of photographs, and did a ton of soul-searching. His search uncovered a deep passion for exploration; which he now believes to be the essence of the human spirit, and led to the birth of The Modern Day Explorer. You can follow him on his personal journey by visiting his Instagram, and hopefully continue to support TMDE by following us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.