Help Us Plan Our East Coast Adventure

Hi, friends! I’ve missed you so much. The past few weeks have been tough, but I’m so glad I took the time off. Thank you again for being understanding of that! I have one more amazing guest post going live on Monday, and then I’ll get back to my regularly scheduled program. Today, however, I’m writing to ask you for a little help…

As you know, May has been a month full of travel for me. I spent the first week in Toronto, the second week in Victoria, and next week Sarah and I are going on an epic adventure along the east coast of the United States. I can’t remember when we first decided to go on this trip, or how we picked the cities we wanted to visit, but here’s our itinerary:

May 20 – NYC
May 21-23 – Boston
May 23-25 – NYC
May 25-27 – Philadelphia
May 27-30 – Washington, DC

I’ve been looking forward to this trip for months. I typically work remotely wherever I go, but I’m finally taking a vacation – and with everything that’s been going on, it couldn’t come at a better time.

We have a few fun plans, so far. For example, we’re having dinner with the Frugalwoods in Boston, going to my friend Shannon’s wedding in NYC and driving (yep, we’re going on a road trip!) down to hang out with J$. Oh, and yesterday I found out Kali is going to be in Boston at the same time as us! (The three of us are in a Mastermind group together, so that’ll be extra special.)

However, because of everything else that’s been going on, I haven’t had time to figure out what we should do/see/eat in these cities… that’s where I’m hoping you can help!

I want to know what you love most about these cities. What makes them special? Where is your favourite coffee shop, brunch spot or patio for dinner? What do we absolutely have to do before we can leave each place? I’m not really one for tourist attractions (but will obviously be a bit of a tourist in DC). I prefer to just walk around and do what locals love to do.

If you’re from any of these cities, or have even visited them, we want to hear from you! And if you want to hang out, follow us on Twitter (@caitflanders and @petersonsar) and Instagram (caitflanders and peterson.sar), as we’ll be documenting our trip and posting a few spots where you can meet-up with us along the way.

The east coast awaits! Thanks for helping us plan our next adventure. :)

Flickr: Tim Sackton

  • Hi Cait,
    I assumed when you said east coast you were referring to Newfoundland! Ha. You should come here some time.
    I have been to Boston and really enjoyed it. Make sure to see Paul Revere’s historic site.
    The Faneuil Hall Marketplace is great. Try Seafood chowder as it is different in every restaurant- one of my fave soups. also the antique market area in Back Bay.
    The Public Gardens with the swan boats is great- the book Make way for ducklings was a favorite with my kids.
    We did a boat trip for one day down to Provincetown in Cape Cod which was fun and went to Salem on a day drive.
    Other than that enjoy the architecture. It is a lovely city. Have fun. Ruth

    • Thank you for all your recommendations, Ruth! And trust me, the east coast of Canada is definitely on my travel bucket list. Maybe next summer. :)

      • Maybe we could do a house exchange!! I would love to come to BC again! It is a beautiful sunny day looking at St. John’s harbor today- icebergs are all over the place here this year.

        • I concur with the East Coast of Canada. I recently moved out to Central Newfoundland and the beauty of this place never ceases to amaze.

          I’m looking forward to seeing your pictures of your trip. I’m in the process of planning my own New England road trip so I’m also looking for ideas.

        • That’d be neat, Ruth! And yes, I’ve seen some cool pics of the icebergs out there – would be amazing to see them in person.

  • Hi Cait,

    Here are just three of my favourite things to do in New York (and just walking, of course!).

    I am not a shopper but this is one of the most beautiful stores in the world. I took my mother for lunch at BG’s on Boxing Day a couple years ago – we got a window seat overlooking Central Park – it was a quintessential NY moment!

    Safe travels!


    • Awesome, thanks for this, Jennifer! I’ve done the High Line once before, and walked past Bergdorf’s but never went in. Good ideas! :)

  • For DC, I recommend the following:

    Restaurants around 14th and U Streets area, and Eastern Market. Soooooo much good food, including the Best Restaurant in the Country 2 years running, Rose’s Luxury. (get there early as they don’t take reservations, and a line starts to form around 4:30). I also recommend grabbing some noms from the DC Slices and Halal Grill food trucks. Ben’s Chili Bowl is a legendary institution.

    The National Zoo is free, and it’s early enough in the season that everything won’t smell yet. The National Cathedral is also gorgeous, and just a mile up the road from Georgetown.

    The Mall is the area where all the museums and monuments are, and 95% of it is free.

    You can usually get tix for the Nationals games for pretty cheap in Stubhub, and those are always a lot of fun.

    • Yes yes yes, this is what I was looking for – restaurant recommendations (which I seem to care about more than anything else haha). Thank you so much, Melissa!

      • I would also recommend Founding Farmers in DC, which is near Pennsylvania Ave NW and 20th Street NW. They have excellent farm-to-table type comfort food (so far, have tried the Yankee Pot Roast and Butternut Squash Ravioli and enjoyed them).

        After, you could hop across the street to Greenberry’s for a little coffee boost, then continue on down Pennsylvania Ave and stroll right past the White House on your way to the National Mall / Monuments / Museums. You’ll also go past some interesting building and small parks on the way. We did this a few weeks ago at a leisurely pace, then stayed to listen to the Earth Day concert for a bit. The weather was nice and it made for a fantastic day!

        Also, I have liked the evening trolley tours out of Union Station… have done them three or four times so far with various visitors and always enjoy it. Think that the WWII Monument at night is my favorite.

        Another food place:
        Mandu has a good happy hour with dumpling, and a bunch of delicious Korean entrees (love the bibim bap rice bowl – comes in a hot stone bowl so that the rice gets a little crispy along the outside, mmmm). We usually go to the location on K Street, which is a few blocks north of the Chinatown Metro.

        • Oh, yeah – note on Founding Farmers: If you decide to go, make a reservation ahead of time, especially in the Friday / weekend time-frame. They tend to fill up fast! But definitely still worth it.

        • A few people have mentioned Founding Farmers now, Steph, so it sounds like that’s a must-do! I’ll be sure to make a reservation before we go. Thanks for all your tips! :)

  • Hey Cait, I live 45 minutes west of Boston, so don’t know it as well as some of the actual residents, but a few suggestions for the touristy-inclined:

    Red Sox are home in Boston those three nights, and you can usually grab cheap(er) bleacher tickets day-of from the ticket counter on Landsdowne Street.

    If the weather’s nice, you can spend an hour or two walking along the Charles River Esplanade.

    The “Freedom Trail” is a walking path that runs a couple miles and takes you through some of the historic places in Boston.

    If you have a sweet tooth, hit up Mike’s Pastry in the North End for a cannoli. You also can’t go wrong with any of the Italian restaurants in the north end (though most are on the pricey side).

    If you’re interested in taking in a show, Blue Man Group at the Charles Playhouse is highly entertaining and would recommend it!

    Have fun!

    • This is perfect, Jeffrey! We definitely want to check out the Freedom Trail… and I was hoping someone would recommend a place to get a good cannoli, haha. We will definitely hit up Mike’s Pastry. Thank you!

  • I’d have to echo what Melissa said above about DC. The nice thing about the National Mall is that most of the Museums there are free (and great for a hot day when you need to cool off for a little bit!) and on one end of the grassy mall you have the Lincoln Memorial, in the center(ish) there is the Washington Monument and on the other end is the Capital Building. Kind of neat to stand in the middle looking down at either end. And while you are there, hit up the tidal basin to see the MLK, FDR, and Jefferson memorial. Oh, and I always stop to say hello to Albert Einstein when I’m there too, he’s (his memorial) on the west end of the Mall on Constitution Ave. :)

    Ben’s Chili Bowl is great! Make sure you get the half smoke! If you decided to go see the Nationals play, you can get Ben’s there too.

    I always recommend the Zoo, A. because it’s Free, B. because it’s beautiful and C. because there are some nice little places to eat south of there on Connecticut Ave. (I like Tono Sushi and usually make that part of my Zoo stop)

    Georgetown can get a little pricey, but its a pretty walk down there with plenty of shops to visit and restaurants to eat at.

    And if you are really wanting to do something touristy, you can drive into Virginia to see Mount Vernon. The grounds are beautiful, and I always like taking a tour of the house. But that may be the History nerd in me. :)

    As far as NYC – I’ve been there a hand full of time and really only do touristy stuff. If you want to get cheap(er) same day tickets to Broadway shows, go to one of the TKTS booths. Canal street is nothing like it used to be, but you can still find some worthwhile things to purchase.

    My only recommendation for Philly is to make sure you get a Philly Cheesesteak. I’ve only been to Geno’s and Pat’s but I’ve been told there are others that are supposedly better. Maybe check out yelp? Or hopefully someone else can make a recommendation?

    Hope you enjoy you east coast trip! Can’t wait to hear about it. Especially Boston, I’ve never been, but would like to go, and would love to hear about your time there!

    • I had heard the museums were free, Cedes – that’s so awesome! And I cannot wait to check out the monuments, Capitol Hill, etc. while we are there. I definitely want to grab a Philly Cheesesteak while in that city (Sarah is a vegetarian so will just have to watch, hehe). And I’ll be sure to post some great recaps of the trip after, so we can share all our favourite things about each city. Thank you for ALL of your recommendations!

  • I can offer no suggestions as I haven’t been any of these other than NYC which I’m pretty sure you’ve got covered! Pass on my well wishes to Shannon for her big day, I can’t believe it’s come round already xx

    • Aww, I will absolutely pass on your well wishes, hun! Time sure flew by, eh? Wish you were there so we could grab another slice of cheesecake. :) xo

  • DC — Such a cool city to visit. Take a jog around the mall and the tidal basin (otherwise takes you all day to walk it). Hirshhorn is our favorite Smithsonian. National Gallery is great too. Adams Morgan and U Street are vibrant neighborhoods to walk around. Don’t miss the Einstein and Gandhi memorials — our favorites. If you want meat, Ben’s (previously mentioned) is not to be missed, as much for the culture as anything. If you’re willing to trek out to the burbs, the Udvar Hazy Center at Dulles, an extention of the Air and Space Museum, is pretty much the best tourist attraction ever. Have fun!

    • Amazing suggestions! Are you guys IN DC, by any chance!? You sure know a lot about it. Would be cool to meet-up!

  • Sorry, one more — Moby Dick’s House of Kabob in Georgetown is not to be missed. Even just their bread and hummus is unbelievable. And Sprinkles Cupcakes in Gtown is way better than the overhyped Georgetown Cupcakes. :-)

    • Yes, I love when people recommend the better versions of hyped up places. We’re staying in Georgetown for one night, so might have to check that out. ;)

      • I second the vote for Sprinkles over Georgetown cupcakes! There are a few Moby Dick’s around town, it’s a chain, but the kabob is actually pretty good. (their naan and hummus is great too)

  • New York City – Ippudo ramen on 65 4th Ave, New York, NY. Get there ten minutes before 5 p.m. (when they open for dinner) because they fill up and have a wait in no time. Their ramen is otherworldly. My sweet tooth loves Momofuku’s Milk Bar and I think there are six locations in NYC and one in Brooklyn. Must.

    • Yes, you’ve reco’d the ramen place before, so we just might have to do that! And I’ve been to Milk Bar twice. SO. GOOD. xoxo

      • I was in NYC this past week and my favorite stop was Eataly. We wandered through and eventually found the pizza restaurant, it was a great stop, and so much fun! I didn’t get gelato, but I did get a coffee milkshake from Shake Shack at the airport (never got a chance to stop at the ones in the city).

        • Yes, I’ve been inside Eataly but haven’t actually eaten there – everything looked good, though! Will suggest that to Sarah. :)

  • I’m so excited about our little dinner party!!! Mr. FW and I have actually lived in Boston, NYC, and DC, so we’ll try our best to give you a good rundown when you come over :). And, you should know that Frugal Hound is very excited to sniff you!

    • Us tooooooo! And yes, we can’t wait to chat about all the cities! We’ve actually both been to NYC and won’t have too much time there, but we’ll have much more time to explore/relax in Philly and DC. See you soon, friends!

  • I used to live in Boston and it’s beautiful in May! It may be crowded due to graduations, but you’ll have fun. My suggestions: wander Harvard Square, picnic in Boston Commons or the Public Gardens, check out the Boston Public Library in Copley Square (beautiful architecture including the outdoor courtyard), and take a walk, run or bike ride (hourly bike rentals are available from Hubway kiosks) along the Esplanade (there might also be a free outdoor concert or event at the Hatch Shell while you’re in town). There are several mobile apps that can help you navigate the subway (called MBTA), which makes it really cheap and easy to get around the city and see a lot without worrying about parking.

    • We can’t wait to check out the public library. And great to know about the bike rental location – that’d be fun! I’ll be sure to download an app for the subway. Thanks for all the reco’s, Susan!

  • If you’ll be in the Columbia Heights neighborhood at all in DC, I can give you a few specific recommendations — my best friends live in that area, but they also know a lot of great places in DC in general. If you’ve never been, Founding Farmers is an great restaurant to try. If you’re down around U Street at all, which is a fun place, Fainting Goat is a good place as well. The Eastern Market is fun to browse around on a Saturday morning, and of course make time for the Mall and the museums — as others have said most of them are free. The Holocaust museum is a must-not-miss for me, and of course the monuments are all interesting. Oh, and echoing others again but the zoo is quite good! Also free :) And most everything is easily accessible by Metro if you don’t want to drive around in the city.

    • You’re the 3rd or 4th person to mention Founding Farmers, so it sounds like that’s an absolute must-do! And we do plan to walk/subway everywhere, but will also have a rental car, so we have options to get around. YAY! Can’t wait to see you in Boston!

  • There is a lot to do in Boston and a ton of great places to eat.
    In addition to what others have recommended, the public gardens and Boston Common will be gorgeous this time of year. It’s a nice place for a walk and sightseeing.
    The Museum of Fine Arts is amazing, especially for Impressionist art and Egyptian relics. Right now a copy of the magna carta is on display.
    For Italian, anywhere in the North End is great (then go get a canoli!)

    • Yes, someone else emailed me and suggested Boston Common. Sounds like we will have to check that out! And a cannoli is at the top of my food list in Boston… can’t wait!

  • As a born and raised New Yorker I will gladly share some tips.:

    Don’t waste your time going to the Statue of Liberty, take the Staten Island Ferry instead, it runs often and best of all it’s free. It doesn’t stop at Liberty Island but passes close enough for a great view of her and New York harbor. You can also get a great harbor view walking around Battery Park City’s esplanade up to Tribeca. Another great walk is across the Brooklyn Bridge.

    For great Chinese food go to Wo Hop at 17 Mott street. Go to the downstairs one, upstairs is for tourists. A few blocks up on Bayard Street just off of Mott street is the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, their Zen Butter flavor is indescribably delicious. If you like Polish food go to Little Poland on 2nd Ave between 12th and 13th streets. they have eight kinds of pierogies and their chicken noodle soup is to die for. Murray’s Bagel’s on 6th Ave between 12th and 13th are worth standing in line for. Rosa Mexicano on 19th street off of Fifth Ave is a little pricier than some, but they make a fabulous guacamole and their chicken tortilla pie is my favorite dish.

    Check museums online first as some have hours with free admission and some have suggested admission so you can pay less if the budget deems it so. I love The Metropolitan Museum of Art and it borders Central Park which is lovely to walk through this time of year.

    Don’t bother shopping in Soho, it’s all designer and mall stores you can find anywhere. I mostly shop online now. When I do need to shop at a store for clothes I go to Lord and Taylor at 39th street and Fifth Ave. They have a really nice cafe for lunch. It’s close to Bryant Park which is nice for people watching and they have a Parisian style carousel.

    Have fun!

    • Thanks, Annie! I’ve actually eaten at Little Poland before. It is delicious. And have also done the Met + Central Park. No shopping for us! (Well, not for me, haha.) But great suggestions on what to skip. Thanks for your comment! :)

  • My favourite spot in Boston is Flour Bakery; grab some breakfast goodies and a coffee to take to one of the nearby parks!

    And my favourite thing about NYC is BROOKLYN. Smorgasburg on weekend mornings has the best samplings from local vendors in lovely parks with great views of Manhattan, and Prospect Park is my favourite place to go hang out when the weather is nice. If you end up at Prospect Park during the day, there’s a great banh mi place called Hanco’s, or La Bagel Delight has awesome awesome breakfast sandwiches; I like to take my meal out to the park and have a little picnic. I have yet to visit Brooklyn Botanical Gardens but it’s on my Brooklyn bucket list, and I’ve only heard good things.

    If you’re into art, the Met is pay-what-you can and hosts a great collection. It’s massive, so you could turn it into a multiple day thing if you’re staying in the area. Also, Central Park is a lovely stroll around. If you want to see a overly library, the NYPL at Bryant Park is lots of fun to wander around. Bryant Park is also one of my favourites. I like parks. The only super touristy thing that I’d say is hella worth it is going up the Empire State Building at sunset.

    • You’re not the first person to mention Flour Bakery, Lisa – sounds like it’s a must! And we’re definitely going to go to Bryant Park this weekend. I’ve seen it at Christmas time (skating rink) but not in the spring. :)

  • I just found your blog and read a ton of it, so in repayment, I’ll share all my thoughts on DC (where I live):

    Do a walking loop of Dupont Circle (walk along Connecticut Ave, sit on the Circle and people watch), to Logan Circle (from Dupont follow P St and then walk up 14th St), then through the U St area (14th will hit U St), and then you can walk back to Dupont or you can walk over some really pretty bridges to Woodley Park (a neighborhood), the zoo, or Rock Creek Park (a park). If you walk those areas, you’ll get a great sense of the trendy places that people in your age group live, you’ll see pretty residential areas, and you’ll pass tons of cute stores, restaurants and bars.

    The Mall, as others have said. Walk a loop of the whole thing. It’s easy to do. It’s also fun to see the monuments at night, so do daytime or evening according to what works best for your schedule.

    The Newseum is my favorite museum in DC (so much to learn and see; plan for many hours there), though it’s not free. National Gallery is great. And, as others have said, there are tons of other free museums.

    If you need to shop for produce, Dupont Circle and Eastern Market have great farmers markets.

    Rowing a kayak or canoe on the Potomac – you can rent boats by the hour from the Georgetown waterfront.

    Union Market is really cool. It’s the only spot in DC that feels like you could be in NYC or SF. It’s full of endless tasty food options and fun to wander around and people watch.

    You must eat Ethiopian food while here. First, it’s amazing. Second, it’s a very DC food, as we have the biggest population of Ethiopians outside of Ethiopia.

    If you need a little break while downtown, grab a drink or appetizer on the rooftop of the W Hotel (formerly Hotel Washington). Its roof has the best views of the Mall.

    Kramer Books is worth a stop. It’s one of DC’s oldest independent bookstores and my favorite DC bookstore. It’s famous for being subpoenaed by Kenneth Star regarding what books Monica Lewinsky bought (crazy). It also has a cute bar and restaurant.

    Before you come, check the Going Out Guide on the Washington Post as well as the Washingtonian Magazine’s website to see what’s happening in DC those days. There are always public/free festivals and events.

    Restaurants I love/like:
    Blue Duck Tavern (expensive, amazing)
    Thai Xing (amazing, 5-course meal, not too pricey for what it is)
    Little Serrow (incredible Thai if you like spicy food and if you eat meat – they don’t alter the menu)
    The Source (expensive, amazing, has a happy hour, Wolfgang Puck restaurant)
    Kapnos (Greek)
    Doi Moi (Thai and Vietnamese)
    Rose’s Luxury
    Ethiopic or Etete or Keren for Ethiopian
    Red Hen
    Thip Khao (Laotian place that’s all the rage at the moment)
    Domku (Northern European food)
    Rasika (amazing modern Indian)
    Amsterdam falafel (cheap, only has falafel and fries with an awesome topping bar)
    Toki Underground (great ramen place)
    Zaytinya (Greek tapas)
    Two Amys (pizza)
    Dolcezza (best gelato in the city)
    Glen’s Market (cute local market with $4 pints and prepared foods)
    Granville Moore (for brunch or beers)
    Perry’s (the food is good if not amazing, mainly I like their pretty roof)
    (P.S. Unlike others above, I find Founding Farmers to be very mediocre. It was better when it first opened.)

    Favorite Bars (if your friend drinks; or, they are still fun places to hang out with a non-alcoholic drink):
    Cork (wine bar, food)
    The Gibson Room (such a sexy place, a speakeasy, you need reservations or you can try showing up and just seeing if there’s seating, no sign outside)
    18th St Lounge (and old favorite, good music, in and old row house)
    Bar Charly (cozy neighborhood spot)
    Jack Rose (nice roof, scotch bar)

    You can walk many places, and the metro is easy and nice. If I need a car, I take Uber and hate DC cabs.

    Not sure what else to share at the moment, but let me know if you have specific questions and I’ll try to answer.

    • Oh my goodness, what an incredible list, K! The walks you outlined sound great, as does a pit stop at Kramerbooks. I can’t shop but I still always love visiting a good bookstore. Thank you so much for taking the time to list all your fave spots! I’ll have to let you know what we end up going to. :)

  • PHILLY: Cheesesteaks are always a must (go to Jim’s at 400 South Street), but if you want to really have the best sandwich of your life, hit Paesano’s in the Italian market (and order the Paesano- you won’t regret it). Other fun things to do for your first visit: Liberty Bell, Art Museum, walking along boathouse row (next to art museum). Some other great restaurants: Talula’s Garden, Zama, Oyster House, and 20 Manning Grill. Enjoy!!

    • Ooo the Paesano sounds good – I’ll see what I can do to get my hands on that. Thanks, Bev!

  • I live in Philly and would recommend going to Federal Donuts (my favorite are the hot donuts), Fourth Street Deli, capagario (gelato), Franklin Fountain (old fashioned, homemade ice cream), and vedge (famous vegetarian restaurant, you might want to make reservations). is a site that lists what is happening in Philly.

    The Schuykill River Trail is behind the art museum if you end up there it is a nice walk.

    • Awesome! Thank you so much, Kim. I’m scared that ice cream will become a daily treat on this trip, haha… but homemade stuff can’t be missed. ;)

  • I just remembered Magpie, which sells pies – savory and sweet. I am a big ice cream fan. :) I can’t wait to hear a recap of your trip!

  • In NYC Take the free ferry to Governor’s Park and wander around. There are historic carousels and you can rent a bike and ride around. I did that with my mom :)

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