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East Coast Summer and Our First Flight in Two and a Half Years

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We love a good East Coast Summer Family Vacation. From road-tripping along the water to exploring Canada, we ate, explored, and had a great time over the month we were gone.

There was a lot of on-the-ground planning with this trip that we didn’t plan to have to do. Does that even make sense? I’ll explain more. We had planned to be rooted in Rhode Island for the whole time and just take day trips to see as much as possible. But after a couple of weeks, we realized that we wanted more flexibility to see even more of the area, so we up and left for Canada with a stop in Maine (a first for us!).

We also were, and are, still being super Covid cautious. Many have moved on, but we are still taking precautions (sharing little bits of that below) while living a full and fun life. I have been trying to time the publishing of my posts for the dips in the Covid-19 waves, but at this point, I have years worth of posts to share, so I’m not going to do that anymore. We are still avoiding travel during waves of all viral illnesses, so please don’t use the timing of my posts going live to mean that it is the ideal time to travel.

For our flight to the East Coast, we flew from San Diego to Boston on JetBlue in their Mint cabin.

This has lay-flat seats, fewer people in the cabin, and more space between each other. We also chose an evening (red-eye) flight, hoping people would be less chatty and lower the virus in the air.

We went into this trip knowing that none of our precautions would be foolproof, of course, but our motto was to “do our best.”

From the second we left our house (we hired a driver who also likes not being sick, and they too wore a mask), we were in N95 masks and wore glasses (the girls wore Stoggles).

We went with the 3M™ Aura™ N95 Particulate Respirator (bought from office supply stores) because it is very breathable, and it has served us well in the past.

Side Note- we had a 19-hour stay in the Emergency Department earlier this year, along with two ambulance rides and a stop at another hospital, and we didn’t catch Covid then, so the 3M™ Aura™ has won our confidence and became our go-to mask for high-risk situations. (Emmy broke her humorous. It was not funny at all, but she is doing well now!)

We also checked all our bags and traveled with just a backpack each so we could board at the absolute last second.  We kept the air vents on full blast and always pointed at our faces.

We had planned not to eat or drink on the plane, but dehydration is a real issue for a few of us due to medical concerns, so when it became clear we were getting dehydrated, we decided that we would quickly hold our breath, take a drink, put the mask back on and then blow the air out.

Does this work? I am not a scientist, so I can’t say for sure, but I figured it couldn’t hurt. A couple of us also took small bites of food.

This also brings me to my handy Aranet4 Home Wireless Indoor Air Quality Monitor.

I used this to access the best times to take those refreshment breaks. I quickly saw that boarding, taxing, or deplaning was NOT the time to lift our masks. We checked the air quality readings, and when it dropped after we were in the air for about 30 minutes (and the in-cabin air filters had been going for a bit after take-off), we did the little lift mask and drink/eat.

This is what I shared on Twitter and Instagram:

(Fast forward- It seems to have worked because we continued to test negative even 14 days after our trip.)

Once on the ground, we kept the masks on until we were in our rental car, and it had been aired out for a bit too.

You probably see the rhythm to our system… as much clean air as possible.

For meals, we only ate outside. Thankfully the weather cooperated 99% of the time, and for that other 1%, we got food to go and either ate in our car, in our hotel, or at our vacation rental.

For activities, if we had to be indoors, we wore a KN95, KF94 (Emmy), or our Aura N95s. It was pretty glorious traveling again and not getting sick! Which, you might remember, was a constant for us. I can’t even tell you how many times we got terrible colds or the flu when we were traveling. I’d happily wear a mask forever if it meant we could return to traveling as much as we used to, but I don’t think that will be necessary.

After we landed in Boston, we booked an airport hotel, so we had a place to shower and store our luggage until our vacation rental was available later that day. I thought we would want to take a nap too, but we were all too excited to rest and decided to head out for food and exploring.

Our first stop was Veggie Galaxy in Cambridge, Massachusets. Here is a little mini-review.

I didn’t realize until we sat down, but I had been following them on Twitter for years!  This was one of the best vegan meals I’ve ever had. They are a vegetarian restaurant, but most items can also be made vegan. They had a large outdoor patio when we were there, and we ate here multiple times during our month on the East Coast. Here are some things we ate:

The nachos above were vegan. I thought they had to have mixed it up with the dairy version, but nope, these were dairy free and SO GOOD!

Emmy approved too!

We also had chicken and waffles, biscuits and gravy, pancakes, roasted potatoes, french onion soup, and more! The last picture is of the seafood platter. It was the “blue plate special”  that day, and although I don’t have a lot of experience with eating seafood (I’m allergic), it was fantastic. I shared a little bit of it with Pete, and he has had a lot of seafood experience and said it was better than the real thing.

I’m considering another trip to Boston JUST to eat at Veggie Galaxy again!

Our vacation rental was in Providence, Rhode Island, and although I wouldn’t recommend this one (it was, unfortunately, dirty, so we had to spend some time cleaning it and we ended up buying new bedding and a TV for it), the location wasn’t bad. It had a decent location and was close to what became our go-to restaurant. We ate there multiple times a week, and we also were able to get it delivered! More below on that.

It was also on the river, which was pretty cool and good for bird-watching. Yep, I’m a bird watcher now. I think it is a right of passage as you age. Ha!

On our first full day in Providence, we decided to explore the downtown area. We appreciated the signs that shared the history of the area.

And just being able to scroll around and see the buildings. The East Coast is definitely different than the West Coast, and the architecture is something we enjoy comparing. Although there really isn’t much to compare. East Coast wins every time.

And that is how we discovered Plant City in Providence, the restaurant I was sharing about above. We were wandering down the river and decided to check it out. They have a huge patio area in the parking lot where you can get table service from a specific restaurant in their building. And then, they have another patio area where you can order from any of the three restaurants inside and take it outside to eat. Oh, and it is also all vegan! So yeah, it became our absolute favorite place to eat! They also have a little market inside with vegan necessities to cook at home.

These tacos, mac n cheese, caesar salad, and buffalo wings were AMAZING! We also loved their drinks, coffee, tea, all kinds of pasta… I don’t think we ate anything there that we didn’t love. Oh, their pizza too. Forgot that! If you are in the area and vegan or not, add this to your list to eat at.

That wraps up our first two days on the East Coast! I promise we did a lot more than just eat, and I am so excited to share the rest of our trip with you.

Did you take any big vacations last year? Have anything planned for this year?

Heather Reese
the authorHeather Reese
Heather Delaney Reese is the storyteller and photographer behind the lifestyle and family travel blog, It's a Lovely Life®! For the past decade, she has vacationed over 150 days a year with her family. She is a vegan, and loves being by the water, spending time with her children, husband, 2 Shih Tzus and Cat.