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Road Trip from Toronto to New York City over 7 days, seeing New England

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hello travellers, I am coming from Australia and want to do a road trip from Toronto to New York City to see the Autumn colours, want to take it slowly and do the back roads and stay in small towns. Want to see as much of New England as I can. Happy to drive every day for a few hours but also happy to stay in 2 or 3 places and do day trips.

Can you recommend towns to stay, routes and also a great car hire company?

I would pick up the car in Toronto but drop off outside NYC and catch public transport into NYC.

Any suggestions gratefully accepted.

Many thanks.

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    Check to make sure you can take a car into the US from Canada.

    7 days is not much time but enough if you don't mind hours of driving. I'll make a few suggestions.

    Take I89 from VT into NH. Get off in New London NH. Cute small college town. Head to Winslow State Park in Wilmot NH. Nice view from the top picnic area. You can take a hike to the very top of Mt Kearsarge. Not as tall as famous Mt Washington but not as crowded either. Backtrack to intersection of Rt 11 and 114. Turn left onto Rt 114 to North Sutton NH. Take a slight detour to Musterfield Farm.
    note: there are several small lakes in the New London area if you'd like to drive around.
    Return to RT 114 and head to Warner NH. Connect with Rt 103. Continue thru Warner, Contoocook and Hopkinton NH to Concord NH. In Contoocook you can make a slight detour to Gould Hill Orchard. Nice view from their parking lot. Great apples. Continue into Concord NH. It's the state capital but a nice, walkable downtown.

    Head to Rt 4 and Portsmouth NH. (I393 will bypass Concord's busy commercial district). Lots of trees along this route. In Durham you could drive thru the UNH campus. It's very pretty in the fall. The route will take you thru some nice farm country and then over the Great Bay bridges which is always beautiful. Then you'll reach the rotary where you can connect with I95 but I strongly suggest you time your visit so you can take an inland rivers foliage cruise out of Portsmouth.

    A very nice drive from Strawbery Banke on Rt 1B thru New Castle past the fabulously restored Wentworth Hotel. Find the coast road to go past private mansions in Rye. Get back to US Rt 1 going north. For a quick trip to Maine just go over the bridge to Kittery. Rt 1 is outlet mall congestion but you can also follow signs to Kittery Point and a nice drive along the river.

    I would then get on I95 for a visit to Portland ME. You can also take a mailboat cruise of Casco Bay. Get an early boat and you'll be back in the Old Port Area in time for lunch. Lots of great places in Portland for lunch.

    If it's not the weekend, you could make a circle back to NH's White Mountains, about an hour away. Then get on I93 South to MA.

    I'll let someone else suggest a route to NYC.

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    That's a nice suggestion for the route from Vermont through NH. Once you get to Portsmouth you are only one hour from Portland Me via the interstate. I'd spend at least one night in Portland and drive a bit further north along the coast. It's another hour and a half up to Camden which is a beautiful area. With only a week I wouldn't go up to Acadia which is the coast's most famous area but I would go at least as far as Camden. In one direction go the highway, and the other take the coastal route. There are a lot of peninsulas that you can explore (you'll need to leave the coastal route and take local roads to do this). So the scenic route will take way, way longer than the highway. I would allow at least two days to explore the Maine coast.

    Then heading back to NYÇ you have a few choices. Does the seven days include getting to New England from Toronto. It's eight hours from Toronto to Bennington Vt so that's going to take a day. Vt through NH will be a day (could be more if you wanted to see the white mountains but with the suggestion given by the last poster you could do it in a day). Then Maine is at least two days. So you now have only three left.

    You didn't mention Boston, it's one of America's'best' cities so unless you have previously been there I'd give it at least a day. There are several threads here if you do a search about places to stay with parking. With a full day, or two half days you could walk the Freedom Trail (Fanuiel Hall/Quincy Market), see the waterfront and walk through the Boston Common/Public Garden which I think are the highlights.

    Options between Boston and NY are Newport RI, Mystic CT or central/western Mass (Sturbridge Village in central Mass, or Pioneer Valley or Berkshires - but the latter look a lot like the area you'll have seen in NH/Vt). This is if you want to see all of New England. Personally I'd extend my time in Maine/Boston (maybe see Cape Ann which is the north shore of Boston) and then just do highway from Boston to NY - or even drop the car when you get to Boston and take the train or bus from Boston to NY.

    It would be nice if you could just wing it and most of the year you could but in the autumn you'll need reservations even for the chain hotels, also driving time on back roads will be longer due to high traffic. The 'nice' hotels are probably already booked for most of October, and at least at weekends will have multli-day minimum stays. So I'd map out an itinerary and book hotels now - most chain hotels at least you can cancel till the last minute if you change your plans.

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    Agree that your first task is to find a company that will let you take a car into the US and leave it there. Expect to pay a significant drop off fee - several hundred dollars. I would start with rental companies that have offices in a major train stop into Manhattan - perhaps Stamford CT.

    Also, you don;t say when you plan on coming - but lear changing in a prolonged process over 6 to 7 weeks - and when there is full color in Canada you will have almost all green when you get to the CT coast. So, if you are going in the early part of the season you will need to spend a lot of time in central NE at higher altitudes - since not only does north change before th south but inland changes before the coast. If you are planning on spending most of your time in Boston and along the coast you will need to come later in the season - when trees may already be leafless in Toronto.

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    thanks everyone for your suggestions I did wonder whether I could pick up a car in Canada and drop off in USA so will do some research on that now.

    I am coming late September early October. Thinking that my road trip may start on 29 September.

    I am used to driving long distances coming from Australia and have driven on your side of the road but as I am driving myself I don't want to do more than 5 hours driving each day and in fact it would thrill me to not drive one day and just explore and take an inland river cruise as suggested.

    I have been to Boston once before and although I would like to go there again I was hoping, with my limited time, to see the countryside side and skip cities as much as possible, given I am going to end up in NYC and then Washington DC.

    Thanks for suggestions, Google Earth is great but having local knowledge gives me a better understanding, I appreciate your generosity in sharing it.

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