Travel Today – Featured Blogger & Photographer
Lauren – Travel and Write Today: When did you start this Instagram page, and what was your motivation for getting started?
Colleen: I started like @travelikealocalma at the very end of 2018. I was taking a sabbatical from work, and was looking for ways to fill my time, while also using some of my creative energy. My sister, who lives in Vermont, had started a blog and Instagram called @travelikealocalvt a few years earlier, and she suggested that I join her in creating a page for Massachusetts. I’ve always loved to travel and explore locally throughout New England, while also supporting local small businesses, restaurants, hotels and more along the way, and my channel has enabled me to bring all of those interests together.
TWT: Have you always lived in Massachusetts? What are some of your favorite places to visit in the area?
Colleen: I actually grew up in New Jersey, went to college outside of Philadelphia (Go ‘Nova!) and then lived and worked in New York City for several years. I met my husband in Boston, and we dated long-distance for a while, but I eventually made the decision to move up north. We’ve been married for six years, so I guess it worked out! And I feel like a true New Englander, having lived in Boston for more than 10 years now.
In terms of places to visit, my husband is a very avid golfer, and loves trying new golf courses, so it’s been fun to get to explore New England together. We enjoy going to the Cape in the summer (especially to the Chatham area), and also love Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. This fall we visited The Berkshires for the first time in years and had such a great time. We stayed in North Adams for part of our trip at The Porches Inn, and I loved checking out the local museums like Mass MoCA and The Clark. We also visited Lenox and Stockbridge to check out Edith Wharton’s residence, The Mount, along with the Norman Rockwell Museum, which was a lot of fun as well!
TWT: What are some of your favorite spots for a day trip in New England?
Colleen: I love the towns of Gloucester and Rockport. One of my favorite day trips this past summer was a visit to Gloucester’s Hammond Castle in the morning, followed by a trip to Good Harbor Beach, while my husband played golf at Rockport Golf Club. We then grabbed dinner at The Lobster Pool in Rockport, before paying a visit to Motif #1 and strolling through Bearskin Neck, ending with ice cream at The Ice Cream Store. It was a perfect day!
I also think that Salisbury Beach is very underrated, and love going there in the summer. Right on the border of Seabrook Beach on the NH seacoast, I love getting a slice of “beach pizza” from Cristaldi’s, and then a massive ice cream from Hodgies Too in Salisbury! It’s also not far from Newburyport, which is one of my favorite coastal MA towns to explore for shopping and great food.
In Central MA, one of my favorite spots to visit is the Tower Hill Botanic Garden, which is also not too far from the Old Stone Church in West Bolyston (for my photography friends out there!). It’s also easy to get over to the Wachusett Brewing Co or Nashoba Valley Winery – and my husband loves playing golf at Wachusett Country Club.
TWT: What is your favorite place to watch the sunrise/sunset?
Colleen: I’m honestly not a morning person, so it’s rare that I’m up for the sunrise. But I’d have to say my favorite place to watch the sunset is on The Lawn at The Wauwinet on Nantucket (preferably with a glass of champagne in hand).
TWT: What is your favorite book?
Colleen: The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein is probably my favorite book of all time, having loved it from when I was little. In more recent years, favorites of mine include The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer, The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah and A Man Called Ove by Frederick Backman.
TWT: The Great Alone is up next in my TBR pile!
TWT: What cities/towns are on your list of places to visit on the East Coast?
Colleen: While my husband and I often travel to Chatham on the Cape, I’d also like to spend some time exploring Falmouth this year. I’d love to visit Nobska Lighthouse and check out the local inns and restaurants, and learn that part of Cape Cod a bit better.
Outside of MA, I’d love to visit Watch Hill, RI, maybe combined with a trip to Newport. There are so many cute towns in Coastal Maine that I’d love to visit as well, including Camden, Rockport and Ogunquit, and I’d like to spend more time in York. I’d love to drive the Kancamagus Highway in NH during foliage season this year, and would also like to do more exploring in Vermont. I spent a day in Stowe, VT with my sister over this past summer, and I’d love to stay for a longer period of time, as there is so much to do in that area!
TWT: What are some of your favorite restaurants in Massachusetts?
Colleen: Vinoteca di Monica in the North End has been a favorite of my mine for years. Their food is so good, we know all of the staff by name, and owners Jorge and Karen are the best. We also enjoy Panza and Mare Oyster Bar in the North End, as well as Locale for pizza.
Toro in the South End has been one of my favorites since I moved to Boston, and I’m a big fan of Saltie Girl in Back Bay for seafood. No. 9 Park in Beacon Hill remains a favorite for a special occasion, and Alcove is a great spot in the West End with amazing Zakim bridge views. My husband and I love getting drinks and snacks at the bar at Legal Harborside in the Seaport, and you can’t beat the BBQ (and biscuits…oh, those biscuits) at Sweet Cheeks in Fenway. In our neighborhood of Charlestown, you can often find me at The Warren Tavern, Monument or Brewer’s Fork.
TWT: Favorite quotes/words of wisdom?
Colleen: Growing up, my parents had a framed version of The Desiderata by Max Ehrman in our front hallway. The poem has been a favorite of mine, and my family’s, for many years. While it was written in 1927, I think the words still ring true today – maybe even more so in some ways, especially during the crazy times we’re living in right now. The last stanza is my favorite:
“And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.”
TWT: Wow! The Desiderata is also one of my favorite poems. I am going to go to re-read it right now!
TWT: What advice would you give to someone who wants to create a social media account and/or website?
Colleen: Three words: authenticity, consistency and reciprocity.
Be authentic. Choose a topic that you really love, and to be yourself. While social media and blogging may “look” easy, it honestly takes a lot of work and dedication – but if you love what you’re doing, it will be fun. I also think it’s so important to be authentic in your writing and your posts. Social media can be great, but reality is easily distorted on the ‘gram. While we all want to showcase our best selves, building trust is paramount. Especially if you want to work with brands or recommend/promote products, it’s important to stick to things that you truly enjoy and would endorse without being paid.
Consistency is another key. I’ll admit I’ve taken several breaks from it over the years, and I’m no where nearly as consistent with my blog as I’d like to be. But showing up, sharing new content, and being consistent with your engagement is key to growth, and developing an audience.
Lastly, remember that social media is a two-way street, and reciprocity is critical. In order to build an authentic audience, you need to put yourself out there and engage, engage, engage. Not only does this help build an audience, but for me, it has led to making some really great Instagram friends over the past couple years. I can’t even tell you how much I appreciate my fellow Instagrammers and bloggers who take the time to like and comment on my posts, and I work hard to make sure I’m returning the love. It doesn’t take a ton of effort to save, comment or share the work of those you enjoy, and it really goes a long way!
TWT: I totally agree with all of this — I love our IG community. Everyone is so supportive!
(I love to photograph the Old Stone Church in West Boylston. One of the prettiest spots in Central MA!)
(This is a snowy view of Pleasant Street in Charlestown – one of the most scenic streets in my neighborhood!)
(The Lawn at The Wauwinet on Nantucket is one of my favorite places to watch the sunset.)
(My husband and I got engaged at The Chatham Bars Inn on Cape Cod, and we try to go back at least once a year. It’s my happy place!)
(The view from Hammond Castle in Gloucester never gets old, especially on a sunny summer day. Even if you don’t have time to stay for a tour of the castle, a visit to the arches and lookout point is free and open to the public.)
Lauren – Travel and Write Today: When did you first become interested in photography? What was the motivation behind starting a website, and an Instagram account?
Josh – Retro Roadtripper: I think my interest in photography really began at the movies (I was a cinema major for three whole months) and seeing how certain perspectives caused different reactions.
My motivation for staring @retroroadtripper65 was to convince my cousins to come visit me in Maine.
I would text them pretty pictures and then realized I was becoming annoying (there are a lot of pretty places here. I started an Instagram account so they could see the photos at their leisure, and I would still get Christmas cards from them.
When I realized that people other than my cousins started following my account, I set a goal for myself – to get more followers than my brother. Unfortunately, I neglected to check how many followers he had when I set this goal. At the time I had around 200. He had 46,000. In my defense, he has written a dozen books, and travels the world giving motivational talks. Oh, and he started before I did – (but I’m coming for you bro).
TWT: Have you always lived in Maine? What do you love about living there?
RR: My family moved to Maine when I was five, and I grew up in the towns of Kennebunk and Kennebunkport. When you live in southern Maine you have so many choices. The ocean is around the corner, the cities of Portland, and Portsmouth, New Hampshire are just 20 minutes away in either direction, and there is so much history to explore. The food is pretty good too.
TWT: What are some of your favorite spots in New England?
RR: Ok, let me apologize right up front because I’m going to forget some great places, but here we go:
- The Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine.
- The Vermont Country Store in Rockingham, Vermont.
- Main Street Concord, New Hampshire.
- The Old Port in Portland, Maine.
- Bellevue Avenue in Newport, Rhode Island.
- Downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
- Maine Street in Brunswick, Maine.
- The Submarine Force Museum in Groton, Connecticut.
And my hometown of Kennebunk, Maine.
TWT: What is your favorite place to watch the sunrise/sunset?
RR: If you get a chance to get to Ocean Avenue in Kennebunkport, Maine, you will see some amazing sunrises and sunsets. During the summer, St. Ann’s by the Sea Episcopal Church opens its grounds to the public, and it the perfect spot for a book and a beach chair. And a camera.
TWT: Sounds amazing! Adding it to the list.
TWT: What advice would you give to someone who wants to create a social media account and/or blog?
RR: I am always hesitant to give advice to due to my mistakes, which have been numerous (and fairly comprehensive), so I’m going to steal, I mean, quote you Lauren and say,
“If you are deciding when, the answer is today”. (Lauren – Travel and Write Today)
TWT: Thank you so much, I am honored!
TWT: What is your favorite book?
RR: The travel books of Bill Bryson always motivate me to get out and explore. And they make me laugh.
TWT: Some of your favorite musicians?
RR: Love the classics. Vivaldi, Rachmaninoff, Foghat.
TWT: What cities/towns are on your list of places to visit in New England?
RR: I am hoping to make trips to the capitals of all the New England states, find an old school motel to set up shop in for a few days and just go exploring. And take pictures.
TWT: Favorite quotes/words of wisdom?
RR: I believe it is an old Japanese saying, but I first came across it in the book Grit: The Power of Passion and Persistence by Angela Duckwork.
It says “Fall Seven, Rise Eight.
Follow along (Let’s get @retroroadtripper65 in the lead!):
|Latest Instagram Followers Scoreboard|
(The Breakwater at Colony Beach, Maine)
(Blast from the Past Diner, Maine)
(Christmas in Cape Porpoise, Maine)
Kendall (Follow along on Instagram: coastthecoast)
When did you start this Instagram page, and what was your motivation for getting started? I started my Instagram page in 2015, but I was so busy working multiple jobs while going to school that I posted pretty intermittently until 2019. I originally started my page because I was so busy that in the rare occasion that I had enough time off for a trip, I wanted to really make it count. I would spend a lot of time researching the perfect trip! Most of the time I used Instagram just for New England travel inspiration, but when I was able to find a really cool place to visit, I always liked to share that with other people as well. Even today I am so happy when someone tells me that they travelled somewhere after seeing it in my pictures, asks me for more information about places I’ve travelled, or explain that they live far away or are really busy but live vicariously through my page – and I totally know how that feels! I focus my page on East Coast day and weekend trips, so those interactions are the whole point of Instagram for me.
Have you always lived in Connecticut? I was born in Connecticut, but I actually moved to Ohio when I was 10, and then moved to Rhode Island for college! I lived in both Newport and Providence, and they are two of the most beautiful places, and I feel so lucky for the time I got to spend there. Later I moved to Connecticut for my current job. Coming from Ohio, being able to explore the East Coast as an adult was so exciting for me, and Instagram really helped show me where I wanted to go and what I wanted to see! To this day I still get pretty much all my travel inspiration from all the other great New England pages on Instagram!
What are some of your favorite spots for a day trip in New England? Oh man, so many. I really love taking frequent day trips to Rhode Island including Newport, Providence, and Jamestown. I also spend a lot of afternoons in Stonington Borough and Mystic Connecticut.
What is your favorite place to watch the sunrise/sunset? I actually moved to a little seaside house in Groton Long Point when I first moved to Connecticut and GLP had the most amazing sunsets of all time. I would also have to say Newport Harbor has amazing sunsets, but you really can’t go wrong anywhere on the water!
What is your favorite book? I really enjoy reading plays and have some favorite collections from Samuel Beckett and Tom Stoppard. The great thing about plays is the way you can pull apart and explore a really complex issue through opposing dialogue and emotions.
Some of your favorite musicians? Well my fiancé plays piano and writes songs, and I could listen to him play for hours, so I would have to say he is my favorite! Some of my other favorites are The Wood Brothers, Willie Watson, Fleet Foxes, and Bob Dylan.
What cities/towns are on your list of places to visit on the East Coast? Ok anywhere in Maine and Nantucket! Those are two New England 101 places that I cannot even believe I have not been to yet. Next year I want to see Nantucket during hydrangea season because it looks incredible. I would also like to see the lupines up north in the spring.
Favorite quotes/words of wisdom? One quote that I like to keep in mind is: “It’s not always where you go, but who’s by your side that matters.” I always tell myself to not only appreciate the places, but appreciate the people I’m with more! It can also be applied to a lot of other areas in life besides travel!
What advice would you give to someone who wants to create a social media account and/or blog? I’ve found a lot of happiness from my Instagram experience. It helps me figure out where I want to travel, share travel ideas, and talk with so many kind people who share similar interests. And if an Instagram page or blog is something you want to actively invest your time in, ask yourself how it can result in making you feel happy, fulfilled, and experience growth, and do that!
Yale University (New Haven, Connecticut)
North Lighthouse (Block Island, Rhode Island)
Kelly and Jeremy (Follow along on Instagram: nesnapshots)
When did you start this Instagram page, and what was your motivation for getting started? New England Snapshots was started in February of 2019, by Jeremy and Kelly, because Kelly had a dream about having a local travel blog. We were vacationing on Loon Mountain in New Hampshire.
What are some of your favorite spots in New England? Some of our favorite spots in New England are, Cape Cod, Good Harbor, Gloucester, Boston and Boston sport venues, Portland, Maine, and Newport, Rhode Island.
What is your favorite place to watch the sunrise/sunset? We have two favorite spots: Spectacle Island in Boston Harbor (Boston, MA) and Provincetown (Cape Cod, MA)
What advice would you give to someone who wants to create a social media account and/or blog? When it comes to creating a social media account, have patience, and post pictures and items that interest you. Other people will see your passion. It’s also important to build relationships with other accounts.
What is your favorite book? Being an elementary school teacher, in New England, my favorite book is Make Way for Ducklings (Robert McCloskey).
Some of your favorite musicians? We have some old school taste in music between Frank Sinatra, Elton John, The Beatles. Call us old souls!
What cities/towns are on your list of places to visit in New England? We really want to explore some of the fun and major towns of New England, including: Burlington, VT. Bar Harbor, ME, Connecticut in general, Narragansett, RI, & Nantucket, MA.
Favorite New England restaurants, and what are your favorite items on the menu? We are two foodies! Some of our favorite restaurants include:
- The Raw Bar, Mashpee (lobster roll)
- La Fina, Andover (Swordfish Steak and Scallop Gnocchi)
- Crisp, Osterville (Margarita Pizza)
- Bacco, North End Boston (toasted eggplant in vodka sauce)
- Legal Seafood, Assembly Row, Somerville (Shrimp Tacos)
- Brax Landing, Harwich, Cape Cod (everything)
- TBones, Hudson, NH (everything)
- Highroller Lobster Company, Portland, ME (Lobster Rolls)
What do you love about Instagram? We love that we can connect with friends near and far, over our mutual love for New England. Also, that we are able to feature family and friends’ photography, including Kelly’s dad, Steve, from Mashpee, Cape Cod.
Here are a few of Kelly and Jeremy’s favorite photos they’ve taken throughout New England:
Sara Harrison (Follow along @sara_bristolri)
When did you start this Instagram page, and what was your motivation for getting started? I started my IG in 2012, posting pictures of my every day life. There was no rhyme or reason, just pictures of what I happened to be doing. It’s evolved over the past two or three years as I learned more about photography and composition, and focused on finding unique and striking shots. I began to pursue my passion of sharing my favorite places in and around Rhode Island and New England, and found a nice response to my photos. I’ve been honored to have sold a few of my photos to followers, and feel proud of how far I’ve come.
Have you always lived in Rhode Island? I’ve lived in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Although I love to travel, I can’t imagine living anywhere other than New England.
What are some of your favorite spots in New England? The White Mountains in NH: Portland, Ogunquit, and Kennebunkport, ME; Chatham, Wellfleet, Westport, Newburyport, and Ipswich, MA; Jamestown, Newport, Little Compton, and of course Bristol, RI.
What is your favorite place to watch the sunrise/sunset? Independence Park over Bristol Harbor, and although not in New England, the best sunset you’ll ever see is in Key West.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to create a social media account and/or blog? Explore your interests and be yourself. Write and post in your own voice, but allow others to inspire you. Be creative, take chances, and be open to new experiences.
What is your favorite book? As a serious bibliophile, I read every day. A few books that I’ll read over and over are The Last Days of Summer by Steve Kluger, Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano, The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson, She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb, and everything by Fannie Flagg, Karma Brown, and Sarah Pekkanen.
Some of your favorite musicians? I love Johnnyswim, Hall and Oates, John Mayer, Michael Bublé, Taylor Swift and Kacey Musgraves. I also listen to Christmas music year round.
What cities/towns are on your list of places to visit in New England? I’m looking forward to an early autumn weekend in Bennington, VT. I’ve never been to Watch Hill despite living in Rhode Island, so drinks at The Ocean House is high on my list.
Favorite quotes/words of wisdom? My Mim always said “Make your own good time”, and I try to embrace that sentiment every day.
What do you love about Instagram? What is something you would love to change? I’ve met so many amazingly talented, kind, and generous friends through Instagram. It gives us such a cool perspective into people’s lives all over the world, and I love that. On the other hand, I’m really put off by how unkind people can be in the comments of a post. We need to come together now more than ever, and we can start by keeping negativity out of the comments.
Here are a few of Sara’s favorite photos she has taken over the years:
Travel Today — Cape Cod Bakeries, Donuts & Coffee Shops
Written by @lillieonthego
So you finally crossed the bridge and arrived safe and sound on Cape Cod – but you’re really craving some coffee and a snack. Look no further! Here are some of my very favorite spots, from Falmouth to Provincetown, to tide you over to dinner.
Nirvana Coffee Company – Barnstable Village
Go for: coffee, snacks
Nirvana Coffee Company is one of my favorite coffee shops by far. The coffee is great, everyone is friendly and the snacks are tasty (I recommend the almond croissant or lemon scone). It’s a great place to stop for a drink and snack on the way to the beach, or to set up and study for an afternoon, right at the center of Barnstable Village.
Go for: tasty snacks
Vibe: tropical beach vacation
While The Canteen is known for it’s delicious food, their baked goods are interesting and delicious. Lemon poppyseed poundcake? Yes please! And their brewed coffee isn’t so bad either. Plus, you get to sit out on their back deck overlooking the beach before strolling Commercial Street.
Go for: baked goods and pastries
Vibe: cute seaside
If you walk along Commercial Street and past the busy shops, around a corner and along some of the most beautiful Provincetown gardens, you’ll come across this adorable little bakery. While it’s standing room only, it’s worth walking with your snack. I go for the key lime pie, but the tartes and tray bakes are nothing to sleep on. Plus they have a number of vegan and gluten-free options!
Go for: donuts, coffee
Vibe: grab ‘n’ go
Every time I drive within 8 miles of one of the Hole in One locations, I stop. I can’t help it, my car has an autopilot setting that takes me straight to the door! I usually go for a black coffee and half a dozen donuts (to share – I can only eat about 3 ½-4 per sitting, not quite 6). My personal favorites are the sour cream, toasted coconut and Boston Creme.
Go for: pastries
Amie Bakery recently opened their new location, and it’s beautiful – the location is all clean lines, bright whites and cool, classic patterns. Oh, and the pastries are pretty good too! I’m partial to their croissants and raspberry scones, and their cookies are delish. The cafe is a great place to sit with a snack, or grab it on the way to the beach – what is more luxurious than grabbing a latte and a croissant, and watching the sunrise?
Maison Villatte – Falmouth
Go for: pastries, fresh bread, desserts
When you’re looking for that beautiful fruit tartelette or rows of freshly made breads, this is the place. You feel like you’ve just strolled down a street in France and popped into a local bakery for a bite to eat. What’s for lunch today – a sandwich and an eclair? Or just two eclairs? So many options. Plus, bringing home a box of goodies from this place is sure to be a big hit, whether you need a dessert for a dinner party or an anniversary surprise.
Go for: spudnuts, blueberry muffins, cheddar scones and fresh jam
Vibe: Homey farm-to-table
While also a restaurant, their baked goods are not to be ignored. From delicious foccacia and cheddar scones, to spudnuts (donuts made from potatoes! The ingenuity!) and blueberry scones, it’s worth stopping here whether for the entire meal or a snack. Along with their homemade bagels, muffins and biscuits there are always a few seasonal jams available to compliment them.
Go for: freshly-made donuts
Vibe: food truck
These are my favorite donuts right now. They are freshly made in a number of flavors ranging from apple cider to pumpkin cranberry! They can be found on Facebook, and are stationed at different places depending on the day and season.