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After my junior year at the University of Tampa came to an end in May 2021, it was time for me to head back to Maine for the summer. The drive between Tampa, Florida and my hometown, Cumberland, Maine, is about 24 hours. Usually I make this trip with my mom and we spend about three or four days on the trip. On this trip we decided to take our time and enjoy the road trip up the east coast. Instead of four days, we spent about 11 days on the road. Our itinerary brought us to five cities—some old, some new—on our drive home.

Our first stop from Tampa was St. Augustine, Florida. We only spent one night and half of a day here, but we still got to see a bit of this historical town. Besides, half the fun of a road trip happens on the road anyway. Our drive from Tampa to St. Augustine was taken mostly through backroads in the dark of the night. The drive consisted mostly of my mom asking me where we were, me having no idea, and both of us crying and laughing the whole time. Once we arrived safely, we checked out a local deli and ate our sandwiches on a picnic table at Anastasia State Park.

We headed to Savannah, Georgia next. I might even say this was my favorite stop on our trip. It was the cutest town with the cutest shops and restaurants, and there were lots of those trees that make you feel like you’re a character in The Last Song. We stayed in a little Airbnb in downtown Savannah and spent two days exploring the town. We went to a rooftop bar called Peregrin that had amazing drinks and a complete view of downtown. While in Georgia, I got every peach themed drink on the menu and they were all worth it. The Hop-On-Hop-Off busses made it easy to get around and we learned about all the spooky history in Savannah.

We hit a slight speed bump (literally) in the middle-of-nowhere, South Carolina on our way to Charleston. My mom and I had to try to operate a tire air pump that was probably from 1980 at a gas station with no cell service. We spent the day there, walking around downtown, getting lunch, and shopping around the markets.

We took the Blueridge Parkway on our way to Asheville, North Carolina. This drive had some of the most beautiful views I’ve probably ever seen. There are scenic outlooks every few minutes all the way up and down the mountains and we stopped at most of them. The views from Looking Glass Rock and Devil Courthouse were some of my favorites! 

Our final stop before home on our trip was New York City. We rented a cute Airbnb in Brooklyn in a brownstone. The last time I went to New York City I was little, so I was excited for this part of the trip. We used the subway to get around Brooklyn and to go to Manhattan. We saw the Brooklyn Bridge, the 9/11 Memorial, Central Park, and the High Line. We went to Caffe Buon Gusto and the pasta there lived up to my expectations from what I saw on Instagram!

I have been on a lot of road trips between Maine and Florida before, but this was the first trip where we really planned out our stops and spent significant time in each place. I would say this was by far the best road trip I’ve ever been on! It was so cool to see so many new places in less than two weeks, and learn so much in each place. It’s also fun to do it with friends or family and create so many amazing memories! Everyone deserves to go on a road trip and see what there is to offer in all these cool cities around us.

Jane Grandchamp is a senior at the University of Tampa. She is majoring in advertising and public relations, and minoring in international studies. She loves playing volleyball and going to the beach with her friends.
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