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Please, some tips for N.Y. and northeast, 2 weeks, low budget(…) trip?

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Hi there!
I’m preparing for a 2-week trip to northeast USA, late May, while doing some (desperate?) efforts to keep the budget low (in this expensive country…) due to recent financial restrictions.
Could you please advise me about how to choose and combine some interesting sights with low budgets?
My initial thought is to stay within the corridor Boston – New York - Philadelphia - Baltimore – Washington, sleeping at hostels and moving with public buses..
Main interests are cityscape, street life, nature... (but no shopping, drinking)
Do you think the areas above make a good choice for that reason?
Also, could you suggest possibilities for hiking in nature around there (seaside/ mountain) accessible by public transport?
Any other tips for good sightseeing at earthly costs, will be a big big help, totally welcome!
Looking forward to hearing your tips guys, happy travels!
Nikolas

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