It’s May, which means it’s time to plan your summer vacation. What, you haven’t yet planned this year’s trip? No big deal: There are plenty of great last-minute trips you could take, like a weekend at the Fitchburg Bee Sting Festival or Olde Paper Mill Days in Rumford, Maine. Want to be spontaneous? Double-park your car and hide in the back seat while it’s towed away. Where will you end up? It’s anybody’s guess! But it’ll be the Frontage Road tow lot.
If you’re looking for a wild vacation, head due south to Rhode Island (State Motto: Every Week Is Bike Week). Rhode Island actually has no rules, as is reflected by its very name, which is complete nonsense. It would’ve been equally appropriate to name it Rhode Flying Volcano, which they briefly did during an LSD-fueled legislative session in 1971. Remember that in Rhode Island, you’re not allowed to commit murder unless you have a low license plate number.
To our north, New Hampshire has five and a half feet of lovely Atlantic coastline, right between the submarine base and the nuclear power plant. New Hampshire is so hard up for waterfront that in 2001 it went to the Supreme Court to try to claim an island in the Piscataqua River from Maine. The Supreme Court ruled in Maine’s favor, adding, “You two should just get it over with and hook up already. The sexual tension is unbearable.”
Here in Massachusetts, our most popular destination is Cape Cod, a spit of sand shaped like a meathead flexing. The Cape is fun if you’ve always wished you could vacation inside your dishwasher. Actually, that’s not exactly accurate, because the inside of your dishwasher is probably warm. Every time I’ve been to the Cape in the past five years, it’s rained. Last year I went to the Beachcomber, and the outdoor waiting area was like a muddy wading pool. The ocean, just beyond the dunes, was only slightly wetter than the air. Sharks and lobsters were attacking people in the parking lot. Maybe I’m misremembering that. To be honest, the view wasn’t great through my car’s periscope.
Now that you know where you’re going to go, let’s talk timing. Vacation houses rent Saturday to Saturday, for maximum inconvenience. Is it Friday? Well, you can’t start your vacation yet. Is it Sunday? Sure, you’ve got the day off, but your vacation ended yesterday. Maybe you should just go to work. Or you could drive back to the house and look in the windows at the people who are there now. Hey, you’ve got time!
To get around the weekly house rentals, you can stay at a hotel like the Chatham Bars Inn. On the downside, a room there will cost 16 times as much as a house. Not a house rental: a house. The Chatham Bars Inn is where I once lost a game of credit-card roulette for a round of drinks, a turn of fate that caused me to flee to Thailand for radical cosmetic surgery and a new identity. As far as Visa is concerned, I’m now a Canadian national named Jesper Lumberman—you might know me as “Jesper the Plumber with Bad News” on HGTV. Homeowners hate it when I show up, but they always grudgingly follow my recommendations because they respect my expertise and encyclopedic knowledge of the Toronto sewer system.
When your vacation’s over, I recommend you keep the party going with a Sunday day trip. On the North Shore, you can take the commuter rail to the beach in Manchester-by-the-Sea. Be forewarned that local ordinance permits residents three sneers per day to be directed toward day-trippers disembarking from the train. Alternatively, save yourself some travel time and just go to Revere, where you can eat roast beef sandwiches and raise your voice.
On the South Shore, Route 3A will lead you to Hingham and Hull. If you want a quick day trip, Hull is way more fun than Hingham. For instance, Hull has the Sea Dog Brew Pub. Hingham has houses where people can’t put in new windows because the old ones date to 1813 and were installed by Paul Revere’s cousin’s farrier, who died of dysentery on the front steps, which are now a historic site and may not be altered even though they’ve been made of mold and wasps since late ’73, by which I mean 1873.
I know this was a lot of great advice to digest and you’re thinking it over while sitting on the stool at the breakfast bar, drinking coffee and wearing a yellow shirt. I mean, maybe you are? Chill out. Yeah, my vacation ended yesterday, and yeah, I’m still on the property. With my fireworks and Jarts. You know what they say: If you can’t deal with a little loitering, you don’t vacation in the Flying Volcano.