This decision was made on Monday lunchtime; on Wednesday evening Albie had been dropped off at the cattery and we were in the car en route to Maine!
By the time T came home from work, I had accumulated a - very short - shortlist of places to stay. Maine had been suggested to us by a couple of people out here. The whole coastline is supposed to be stunning, so we went on where the hotels were rather than a specific town (which was a good job considering the lack of available places to stay...).
Our go-to website for accommodation is 'Mr and Mrs Smith'. The places on this website are lovely, all the ones we have booked through here have been stunning, it's just a shame they don't have many hotels for North America. After looking at their website initially and thinking the hotel available is a tad over our budget, I came back to it as the rooms were some of the cheapest I had found, but the place was one of the nicest looking in Maine. So in the end, along with that one, there was another hotel on the Mr and Mrs Smith website for Vermont for the Saturday night, and we just needed to find a hotel for the Wednesday night. The Wednesday night hotel was finally booked on Tuesday evening.
I left the vets to the sound of him hissing at the receptionist, wishing all parties involved good luck...
We reached at our hotel, The Sugar Hill Inn in New Hampshire, after 10pm - 2 hours after we had said we would be arriving. I had visions of the door being locked and us having to resort to sleeping in the car, but the owner greeted us with a big smile, no worries. Our room was lovely, with the highest bed I have ever seen - it reminded me of the fairytale 'The Princess and the Pea' - and I had to clamber to get on it. I then fell out when getting up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, expecting the floor to be about a foot closer than it was.
Eye mask on, it was time for sleep.
Another difference between countries we have found is the way they offer accommodation packages. In Europe it seemed to be the norm to offer a room rate, and then have an optional charge of around 20-30 Euros for breakfast. Once we had overcome the annoyance at this - 30EUR for breakfast?!! - we actually liked it, as most of the time we seemed to be in the midst of driving long road trips therefore it was nice to get on the road and stop for coffee and a bite on the way, and with the service stations in Spain offering cheap coffee and tostada (toasted bread with olive oil and fresh tomatoes) for about 3EUR it was cheap and much more tasty than the offerings from the hotels. Or if we were on a city break, it was nice to get up and have a breakfast at a cafe around the corner whilst watching locals get on with their early morning (OK, late morning) tasks.
I appreciated it especially, as I have found through many a trial and error anything more than an apple of cracker for the first meal of the day and I can feel ill the rest of the day, so this way I could slyly have my apple or cracker and not feel weird about it.
In England, breakfast is usually included, a choice between a sausages, bacon and beans in a 'Full English' or a croissant with the 'Continental' option. Or a big buffet-style spread where you can make your selection of breakfast dish from the array of items on offer.
In North America however, the norm seems to be you get breakfast included in your room rate. And it isn't just any breakfast: this is a three course breakfast.
We sat down in the dining room and, as we sipped tea (not forgetting the splash of milk, of course) whilst everyone around us was drinking coffee, we were served a freshly made blueberry muffin and presented with a menu. The breakfast dishes on offer: Pancakes, omelettes, scrambled eggs with smoked salmon, French toast... I looked around the dining room at the large platefuls of pancakes, bacon and eggs and saw a woman eating from a small bowl - that must be the granola with yogurt and berries I reasoned. I ordered the granola, and then the waitress came out and served us a fruit cup. Turned out the fruit cup was what I had seen the woman eating.
It was just the second course...
Sure enough, I looked over at the woman again and a plate piled high with scrambled eggs was sat in front of her. My homemade granola came, a bowl as big as my head, filled to the brim. It was delicious, but I had to leave most of it as soon started feeling sick. T's waffles with maple syrup, bacon and berries were good, although I think we both decided we weren't too keen on the maple syrup/bacon combo which seems popular this side of the Atlantic.