One of the many amazing benefits to my booth babe job is that I get to travel this beautiful country and somebody else pays for it. I’ve been to many cities that I never would have gone to otherwise. (Seriously, does anyone go to Milwaukee on vacation? No, but it’s a pretty rad city.) There are around 80 auto shows every season. I don’t go to all of them, but every year I’m sent to a few different ones that I’ve never been to before. At this point in my auto show career I think it’s safe to say that I’ve hit at least ¾ of all consumer auto show cities.
As such an extensive traveler I feel it is only fair that I share my expertise with you when you plan your summer road trip! They are going to be relatively quick trips – no longer than a week or so – and should fit into your summer schedule pretty easily. Each trip will include some great automotive points of interest. This week we’re going to focus on the Northeast USA.
Let’s start you in the general vicinity of New York City. The last thing I’m going to do to you is have you drive through Manhattan – if you want to see the city then park at a train station in Westchester and take the Metro North in and out. We’re going to drive upstate.
You can take the New York State Thruway or the Taconic Parkway. The locals who have completed analysis sometime refer to it as “Catatonic Parkway”, because of its psychological and motorological disturbances. You can get away with driving a lot faster on the Thruway, but the Taconic is a beautiful scenic drive. Both will get you to Albany. Along the way, stop at West Point for a guided tour. Put down the donut and have lunch a bit further north at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park.
There are some cool little historic oval tracks between lunch and Albany that are worth a look. The Chatham Fairgrounds is often the site of historic car shows and, according to that website, what appears to be a talking goat. The fairgrounds in Ballston Spa are home to a quarter mile paved oval used by the Adirondack Karting Association where you can catch a pretty sweet race without the big-dollar attitudes. There’s a neat car museum a half hour north of Albany in Saratoga Springs – the Saratoga Automobile Museum – but be wary of the summer horseracing crowds. Of course, you could always join in – Saratoga Raceway is one of the most historic racetracks in the country, but we’re talking 1 HP, not 800 HP.
Head east from Albany on the Mass Pike to Boston, about a three-hour trip. Boston is one of my favorite cities to visit: clean, historic, easy to get around on the train and lots of stuff to see. Again, find someplace cheap to park and take the T around the city to save a ton of dough and aggravation. Walk the Freedom Trail and thank your lucky stars and stripes you’re not eating British black pudding for dinner tonight. When you’re done getting your history on, head over to F1 Boston for some wicked competitive kart racing. If you absolutely must see a Red Sox game, I’ll look the other way.
From Beantown drop down to Providence, RI for a Waterfire event and catch a race at Seekonk Speedway – these lunatics have figure 8’s, for crying out loud. Watch through your fingers with your hands covering your eyes.
Wrap up your road trip with a jaunt through Connecticut. First stop in Manchester for a visit to The Fire Museum, because the only thing cooler than a racecar is a fire truck.
I’ve saved the best for last for you, my friends: Lime Rock Park in western CT. Paul Newman loved this track, for good reason: it’s fast with two big elevation changes and 7-10 turns depending on your course. It always has a full schedule of events, including this weekend’s American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix, so there’s certain to be something for you to see. If you’re a member of a marque club, check with your home office for track day opportunities.
After your day at the track, it’s a short drop back down to the NYC metro area.
Next week: Pull out your #3 gear – we’re heading to NASCAR country!
The Booth Babe is an anonymous auto show model who dishes about what really goes on behind the scenes. Read her blog at http://doyoucomewiththecar.blogspot.com. And if you treat her nicely, read her each Sunday at Thetruthaboutcars.com