A summer vacation doesn’t need to cost you a month’s salary, but you’d be forgiven for thinking that it should. Between May and August, Instagram becomes a minefield of people you don’t know sitting poolside at The Ace Hotel in Palm Springs or whatever. Suddenly, your Brooklyn staycation seems lacking.
I know that nothing is what it appears on social media. It is possible to know this at your core and, at the same time, wish you were also lounging on an expensive pool float shaped like a hot dog.
In moments like these, I ground myself with the knowledge that the best summer vacation I ever took cost very little and was focused on the singular goal of eating a slice of pie in every state in New England.
In the final weeks of my senior year, my college roommates and I sat around our living room contemplating a post-graduation road trip. We hadn’t yet landed jobs, so it had to be cheap— no hotels, no shopping. We were also really into pie at this point. Why not focus the entire trip on pie? A plan for a humble food-themed road trip emerged. We called it Pie Tour 2013.
For four days we drove across New England with a list of bakeries and not much else. In Connecticut, we ate towering lemon meringue slices. In Massachusetts, we bought a mixed berry pie with stars cut into the crust. We ate it straight from the tin on a nearby park bench. In Maine we had my favorite— a slice of blueberry pie from Two Fat Cats Bakery that I still go back for whenever I’m in Portland.
In between pie slices, we’d park the car and walk around for hours, figuring out where where we’d sleep for the night (in a family member’s house, a cheap Airbnb and a tent, to be specific).
It was the most cost-effective vacation I’ve taken, and, in truth, the most memorable. And trust me when I say that you will have a better time spending money on gas and really good pie (or barbecue; or doughnuts; or french fries) than you will spending it on a hotel room you hardly hung out in.
Plus, pie looks great on Instagram.