I am planning a trip to the Northeast in early October. There is so much that I'd like to see that I need a little help prioritizing.
A little background on me...I'm a 32-year old female and will be traveling alone. I mostly want to make this a long driving tour through Maine, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. I would love to hit PEI as well, but don't think I'll have enough time (unless convinced otherwise). =)
I will be flying from Dallas to Boston, arriving late in Boston on the first night. I'll then have 10 days full days to spend traveling around, needing to be back in Boston sometime late on the 10th day. My flight back to Dallas is early the next day.
Day 1 (Friday, October 2) - DFW to BOS (arrive BOS ~ 11:30p and pick up rental car)
Days 2-11 - 10 full days to travel
Day 12 - Early flight from BOS to DFW
I will rent a car in Boston and figure it will be easiest to spend the first night either in Boston or maybe just outside of Boston to the north. I fly in on a Friday night, so I wouldn't think that I would have to worry about rush hour traffic on a Saturday morning, but I don't know how long it takes to get out of Boston...and maybe there is some advantage to driving out late at night. (Note: I have not been to Boston before and would love to spend at least half a day there, but this will not likely be my last trip that hits Boston, so I'm going to leave that for another time.)
As for accommodations, I am fine with staying in 2-3 star locations provided that I feel safe and the accommodations are clean. If there are places that cater to singles, I am interested in knowing about them. I'd prefer to keep the cost at $150/night or less. B&Bs, lodges, and other alternatives are acceptable and somewhat preferable to hotels/motels.
I've never been this far in the NE before, so I have a tendency to try to fit too many things into the time that I have, which is why I'm posting here. I am reading posted trip reports and answers to questions already asked, but truthfully, doing so just makes my list grow longer. =)
I know that I will be doing a lot of driving - and this is not the type of trip for everyone. I don't really plan on spending more than one night in the same place (maybe two occasionally). But I also want to make sure that I'm not rushing through or taking long detours for things that I probably should have skipped in order to see something more important. I am up for some adventure type things (kayaking, rappelling, cruises, etc.) and would love to hear recommendations for a single female. (FYI- I've been to Hawaii multiple times and I've seen Humpback Whales there. I've been snorkeling in Cozumel and Hawaii and I've seen lots of sea life. I do love sea life and do hope to see some, but seeing whales here would not be a once-in-a-lifetime thing for me, so I probably wouldn't take a whale watching cruise. Also, I realize the puffins are gone by October, so I won't get to see them.)
I should probably also mention that I am allergic to shellfish. So, as much as I love lobster, I won't be having any. Should I have more concern than I normally do about eating other things from the same kitchens where lobsters are cooked?
I have a long list of wishes for this trip, but realize that they may not all be possible. I'd like to see the fall foliage, historic covered bridges, lighthouses, moose, architectural interests, coastal towns, and lots of beautiful scenery. I'm not really a museum type of person and would prefer to spend as much time outdoors as possible. While I do enjoy hiking, I am also keeping in mind that I will be alone and do not want to get myself into a situation where I feel panicked or unsafe.
I realize that the exact time of the fall foliage can't be predicted this far in advance. I'm not really sure how much difference 10 days can make between weather conditions further north and fall foliage in Maine, but it seems that my best bet would be to go straight from Boston to Nova Scotia (early October weather v. mid-October weather) and then work my way back to Boston, hitting the Maine fall foliage during a week that seems more likely to be ideal.
The idea is to create a wish itinerary that is feasible, but when I'm actually there, I'll allow for flexibility.
Using Google maps and starting to work out potential day-long drives, I've come up with the following so far.
Day 1 (Saturday) - Drive from Boston to NS with some scenic detours - In Portland, ME, get off of I-95, to I-295 to Route 1. Take Route 1 up to Hwy 88. In Yarmouth, get back on I-295. In Augusta, take Hwy 3 out to Penobscot Bay. Head back to I-95 via Route 1 and then drive straight thru on the main highways to somewhere in NS. I do realize that this is a lot of driving for one day. Any stops recommended? I plan on hitting other scenic areas in Maine and NB on the return trip. What is a good stopping point in NS if heading toward Cape Breton the next day? I'm thinking somewhere in the Pictou to Antigonish region.
Day 2 (Sunday) - Do a little exploring of whatever town I stayed the night in and then head to the Ceilidh Trail. Devote the rest of the day to the Ceilidh Trail. Any concerns with this being on a Sunday? Any recommendations on enjoying the culture, the music, the views, some hiking, etc? I want to leave myself open to the possibility of experiencing the infamous hospitality of the region as well. Where to spend the night? I was thinking of staying in Cheticamp or the Margaree area. I plan on doing the Cabot Trail the next day, but realize that I need to plan for a fog day, so I plan on staying two nights.
Day 3 (Monday) - Best case scenario is that there is no fog and I can spend the day on the Cabot Trail. Any tips/recommendations for a single female traveler? If this is a fog day, I can enjoy the area I'm staying in, maybe head over to Baddeck...or Sydney. Night in Cheticamp/Margaree area.
Day 4 (Tuesday) - If yesterday fogged me out of the Cabot Trail, then I'll hope that today is fog free. Even if I was able to hit the Cabot Trail yesterday and there is no fog today, I will probably explore it again today. Either stay a third night in the same place I've been staying or start heading back toward Moncton, New Brunswick and spend the night somewhere along the way. Because low tide at Hopewell Cape is so early the next morning (8:53a), it seems best to go ahead and get as close as possible. Alternatively, I can take away the "cushion" day that I have built into day 7 and spend the entire day on the Sunrise Trail and make it all the way to Hopewell Cape so that I'm already there come morning. Is the Sunrise Trail worth a day? Or is it possible to hit PEI on this day crossing first in Pictou and then over the Confederation Bridge? If given the choice between spending the day on the Sunrise Trail or crossing over for limited time on PEI, which would you do? I have not done much research on PEI yet. Recommendations?
Day 5 (Wednesday 10/7) - Drive the rest of the way to Hopewell Cape, NB and explore the Fundy Bay. Recommendations of where to stay/what to do? Plan to spend two nights in Fundy Bay area, but not necessarily in same accommodations.
Hopewell Cape (low tide at 8:53a / high tide at 2:41p)
Cape Enrage (low tide at 8:46a / high tide at 2:35p)
Fundy National Park?
Day 6 (Thursday 10/8) - Bay of Fundy continued.
Take 111 to St. Martins (sea caves)
Fundy Trail Parkway (sea caves) - Low Tide at 9:14a / High Tide at 3:22p
Any recommendations as to the guided hikes on the Fundy Foot Trail?
Possibly drive to St. Andrews by the Sea and stay there for the night.
Day 7 (Friday) - This is my "cushion" day. I can either spend a day in St. Andrews area or alter the rest of the itinerary to give me an extra day somewhere (Move up to day five for a quick tour of PEI?)
Day 8 (Saturday) - Morning in St Andrews. Scenic drive from St Andrews to Bar Harbor, ME. Two nights in Acadia National Park.
Drive from St. Andrews to Bar Harbor:
St. Stephen (Ganong Bros. Chocolate? Recommended?)
Columbia Falls, ME (Ruggles House - Recommended?)
Cherryfield, ME ("Blueberry Capital of the World")
Milbridge, ME (19th century architecture)
Gouldsboro, ME (Bartlett Estate Winery - Recommended?)
Winter Harbor, ME and Schoodic Peninsula
Bar Harbor (or Bass Harbor? - will see both, but which is preferable to stay the night?)
Day 9 (Sunday) - Day in Acadia National Park. Last night here.
Day 10 (Monday) - Scenic drive from Bar Harbor to Boston (inland fall foliage and covered bridges):
From Bar Harbor to Dover-Foxcroft
To Guilford (Lowe's Bridge)
To Newry (Artist's Covered Bridge)
To Fryeburg (Hemlock Bridge)
To South Windham (Babb's Bridge)
To Cumberland (Portland Head)
To York (Sewall's Bridge)
I realize that this is a lot of driving in one day. Truthfully, the list was longer. I don't plan on spending much time in various towns. I'm expecting that this will be more of a picturesque drive. Perhaps I'd spend a little more time in Cumberland?
Recommendations for an easy stay near BOS airport? Will need to return rental car and be on time for 9:00a flight next morning.
Thank you for all of your help! I know that I'm asking a lot!
Maine, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia in October
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