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Tour of new England

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We are just beginning to plan our tour and would appreciate some help. We are coming from England to NY late May for 3-4 weeks and intend to hire a car and see as much as we can. We particularly like to see the best scenery and maybe do some short (half day) hikes. There are only 2 fixes, the Green Mt Forest and we need to finish in Easton NJ. We would also like to go to Cape Cod, Boston and hope to get as far as Bar Harbour. Does anyone have any suggestions as to itinerary, must-see places or places to stay?

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    With this much time, you can cover a lot of ground. And there are a whole ton of options in New England. Depending on your interests, a good 4-5 days can be fruitfully spent in Boston and Cambridge alone. There are myriad excellent day trips from Boston, including Salem, Lexington, Concord, Plymouth, Gloucester, Rockport, Lowell, New Bedford, and more. Cape Cod is large and depending on how much of it you want to see, you could spend anywhere from 3 to 7 days. Acadia NP is excellent, and 2-3 days is a good amount of time to spend here. There's plenty of good hiking to be had in the White Mountains of NH, the Green Mountains of VT, and Western MA (Berkshires, Pioneer Valley). Several towns and cities make good places to visit, including (RI) Newport or Providence, (CT) Mystic or New Haven or Hartford, (NH) Portsmouth or Manchester or Concord, or (ME) Portland -- not to mention regions such as (MA) Nantucket or Martha's Vineyard or (CT) Litchfield Hills.

    In fact, there so many possibilities that I'd strongly recommend doing a thorough guidebook search of the region to see what appeals to you most, draw up a possible itinerary, and post it for suggestions and comments.

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    Thanks bachslunch; that gives me a start. I have a guide book but there are so many good things said about so many places that I don't know where to begin.
    I have not posted on this site before.

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    If you arrive in late May so that your visit includes most of June you might want to go on a house and garden tour. I believe the one in Camden Maine is mid-June. You didn't mention NH but NH's White Mountains offer more dramatic scenery than the Green Mountains (higher mountains and possible ride to top of Mt Washington) and also beautiful Lake Winnipesaukee. There are many hiking opportunities but keep in mind your visit might coincide with black fly season. Unfortunately biting insects tend to find foreign visitors very tasty. My sister used to work at a summer camp where some of the college students from Europe had reactions to insect bites. Make sure to use good insect repellant when hiking in the woods.
    In Boston, the culinary tour of the Italian North End is very interesting and tasty (food samples).
    Some of the historic areas have spring festivals focused on gardening and farming. In NH there is a wool festival. As you head north to Maine, stop in Portsmouth for a boat cruise. Check out Strawbery Banke Historic area.
    Since you will visit Cape Cod, I would skip southern Maine. I think the scenery is better once you get north of Portland. If you didn't take a boat ride in Portsmouth, a cruise around Casco Bay is fun and very scenic. The Old Port Area has wonderful restaurants and small shops.
    Don't miss Owl's Head Light. It's a very short hike but you can also walk down to a stoney beach. Maine Coastal Gardens near Boothbay but you can also find small wildlife conservation areas that don't cost anything where you can walk or sit to enjoy the water. These aren't well advertised. You can hike or drive to top of Mt Battie in Camden which is probably the prettiest harbor in Maine. Acadia and Bar Harbor area are jewels.
    You can cross NH's White Mountains to get to VT. Western VT along Lake Champlain has beautiful farming country. The Green Mountains run down the center of the state. It will be too early for swimming but one summer we discovered a popular swimming area with a waterfall and ledges. It was on the Lincoln pass between Bristol and Rt 100.
    There are places were you can rent kayaks. In our area a van will drop you off on the river so you can paddle downstream for a couple of hours and then get picked up. A friend took me for the first time this summer. I thought it was incredibly beautiful with many sandy private beaches along the way, wonderful birds, and friendly paddlers. We picnicked on a beach. What amazed me was I drive past this area all the time but seeing it from the river is completely different. If you like the outdoors, I would put it high on my list of things to do. You also have the option of ocean kayaking or on rivers/ponds although I would not choose a busy area like Lake Winnipesaukee (too many power boats).

    From VT you can drive south into Western MA and then back toward Boston if you want to visit the historic towns posted above and then to Cape Cod where the weather might be a little warmer in June. Visit RI, maybe Newport. My apologies to CT but given limited time even though it's 3-4 weeks, I can't think of anyplace that equals places in ME, NH and VT for scenery. There are beautiful places in CT but I think the northern states are prettier. So I would speed thru CT to get to where you have to be in NJ.

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    To also give your trip some framework - further suggestions. I would fly into Boston. Spend perhaps 3-4 days without a car in Boston area. Then rent a car and head north. There are 2 major routes to more northern New England - one closer to the coast, one more inland (although you can not actually see coast from more eastern route). Use one for the northern trip - the other for the southern trip (look at a map and this will make sense).

    While using the more eastern route, stop in places such as Portsmouth, NH; coastal Maine - perhaps a night or 2 in Portland, Maine; and then head at a lesiurely pace up to Acadia National Park. Be aware that in May, it is still quite cool in this area - you will not be sitting on a beach. This eastern route takes you thru some smaller cities.

    Heading south, take a more inland route through parts of VT and NH. Plenty of places to do short hikes, stay at some inns. You can also get good lodging deals at some of the places frequented by skiiers, as that season will be over and summer tourist season not started. Again, plan for likely cool weather.

    Then head for Cape Cod - making sure it is not Memorial Day weekend since traffic will be horrible. Do some research about what/where you want to do/see. Drive out to Provincetown (the end) if you want - taking 3-5 days on Cape Cod. Head back to Boston, return rental car and take train to NYC or possibly Newark, NJ - as Easton is due west of there.

    Figure out how to get to Easton - I am assuming this is destination to see family or friends because I can not think of any other reason to go there. So maybe rent another car.

    Hopefully fly out of NY without paying huge amount for into/out of different cities. If not, take train back to Boston.

    Have a good trip - hope this and bachslunch will help give some preliminary structure to your trip from which you can fine tune it. There are several Boston/New England regulars here who will be happy to comment on specifics - and even happier to disagree with each other (although usually politely). When I saw the heading of your post I was fearful it would be the usual "I want to see all of New England in 3 days" post - you seem to be starting from a sensible point regarding time, so you should be able to see just about everything you want.

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    Thanks so much for those replies. I certainly have some points to aim for and there are some really useful tips. It sounds as though N Maine is really lovely. Unfortunately my husband is one of those people that black flies love so we shall have to get some good sprays. At least if it's cool we can cover up.
    I think we will travel into Boston and out of Newark but I hadn't thought of dumping the car in Boston and using the train to get to NY; what a good idea.

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    Agreed that AMTRAK trains are a good way to go between Boston and NYC. It's even cheaper to take a bus, and there are several decently reliable companies that cost surprisingly very little, such as Megabus and Bolt Bus. Greyhound/Peter Pan cost slightly more and offer the advantage of an indoor waiting spot at Port Authority. While I'm not aware of any recent incidents, Fung Wah and Lucky Star are much less reliable options with checkered track records -- avoid these two.

    Re black flies. Definitely cover up what you can with clothing, wear a hat, and cover every inch of exposed skin and hair with a good quality bug spray (yes, if you don't wear a hat, they'll burrow into your hair to bite your scalp). Sunglasses aren't a bad idea, either, for the same reason -- makes it tougher for them to get in the eye area. At their worst time of year, they can be voluminous and aggressive.

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    lynny, you shouldn't have a problem with black flies in towns/cities just hiking in wooded areas. Also no problem if you're out on the water. Not sure if they would be a bother if you were kayaking since I've only kayaked during summer. I'm not usually bothered by them even though I'm a gardener. Some people buy bug hats which have netting that drops down from the brim and covers your whole head. It's not unusual to see people wearing these when they are outside working in their yard. The hats might be worth purchasing (I don't think they're expensive) just in case and might be a god send if you want to do some hiking.

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    Gosh. I had heard about bed bugs but didn't realise that black fly were so problematic. Sounds as though we need several spray cans of deet and smear on lots of citronella plus nets over our heads! Our photos are going to be memorable.

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    I am located in Waterbury Vermont very close to the Green Mtn Ntl Forest you want to visit. This area would be a good one to stay in for a few days and make day trips to locations around northern VT. Burlington and Lake Champlain are worth visiting. My favorite places there are the waterfront (some restaurants and bars there), Shelburne Museum, and Shelburne Farms. Shelburne Museum is an incredible facility and could easily take a day, and possibly two days, to explore thoroughly. I recommend you research their website. There are cruise boats and ferries there that are an excellent way to see the lake which I think looks better from the water than land. Burlington is full of excellent restaurants. On another day, I suggest a drive up Route 100 to Stowe which is a nice little village with some interesting craft stores and art galleries. Take Route 108 (Mountain Road) from town out to the ski area and drive up the toll road (about $20) to the top of Mount Mansfield, the highest mountain in VT. You can hike the Long Trail along the mountain ridge. You will easily see the Adirondack Mtns in NY and the White Mtn range in New Hampshire. Back on Route 108, continue north through Smugglers Notch into Jeffersonville. This is one of the best drives in New England. Turn left on Route 15 to 104 and make your way over to St Albans and then Route 7 to Swanton. Take Route 78 west and turn south onto Route 2 and follow it through the scenic islands of Alburg Center, Isle LaMotte, North Hero, Grand Island, South Hero. I suggest a day visit to the "Northeast Kingdom" of Vermont. This is the least developed part of the state. Most of it is remote and wild. It's what all of Vermont probably looked like back in the 1800's. Your best chance of seeing a moose is here. St Johnsbury is a very nice old town. From there, drive north to Island Pond, west to Newport and then south through one of my favorite areas, the villages of Craftsbury Common, Cabot, Danbury, and Peacham. If there is time, stop in Montpelier and tour the beautifully restored state capitol building. I would then move to southern Vermont by driving south on Route 100 through the Grn Mtn Ntl Forest. There are many villages, swimming holes, waterfalls, craft shops, etc. too many to list here but see my write up on Route 100 on milebymile.com I love the town of Manchester and would stay at the Equinox if affordable. It has a beautiful toll road too. The northern side of town has a lot of outlet stores but the village itself is very scenic. From there I would make day trips such as north on Route 7 to interesting villages such as Brandon, Middlebury,and Vergennes. On another day I would drive to Bennington (especially picturesque Old Bennington), over Route 9 to Brattleboro and then north to the beautiful villages of Townsend, Grafton, Chester and Woodstock. The latter is one of the prettiest in New England.

    The best source of hiking information in VT is the Green Mtn Club: greenmountainclub.org

    I enjoy visiting northern New Hampshire (not southern) especially the Franconia Notch area, Flume Gorge ( a unique hike), Kancamagus highway (don't miss this drive - it is magnificent but it runs east and west so go west in the morning and east in the afternoon so the sun is not in your eyes), Mount Washington (cog railroad to the top is fun but only on sunny days), Bretton Woods (stay there if you can afford), Lake Winnipesaukee (touristy but still fun to visit I think).

    In Maine, my favorites are Kennebunkport and Acadia Natl Park.

    Any good innkeeper will be your best source of information in each area for outdoor activities, attractions, scenic drives, dining, etc. I suggest calling or emailing some and decide on where to stay based on how helpful they are.

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    You won't have a problem with black flies if you go to Cape Cod. In fact, there are not many insects to bother you on Cape Cod in the spring. Do plan to spend some time in the Cape Cod National Seashore area on the outer cape (Eastham to Provincetown). You will need a car to get around but this area of the cape is unique and should not be missed.

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    Re Cape Cod and getting around without a car: I have a good amount of experience on the subject. And a car is pretty much a necessity to get to many of the Cape Cod National Seashore beaches (though the Provincetown ones are served by buses in summer), as well as to the attractions in Sandwich, West Brewster, and the bay side of Yarmouth and Dennis.

    But many of the other things to see and do on the Cape can indeed be reached by bus, via either Plymouth and Brockton, Peter Pan/Bonanza, or Cape Cod Regional Transit routes. That includes non-beach areas in every town in the Outer Cape.

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    It would be great for us if the ferry to the Cape took cars as well but I suppose we shall just have to re-trace our steps around Cape Cod. It sounds lovely so not to worry.
    Flights all booked now.
    Huge thanks to everyone who has posted their suggestions and I will keep checking back to see if there are any more ideas.
    What a fantastically useful site this is.

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    Don't forget to check out Providence and Newport when in Rhode Island there are some great inns to stay at one of them is Edgewood Manor in Providence RI near Roger Williams Park and Zoo. Ther are great restaurants in Providence as well. Several Museums and lots to see and do!!!

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    The only truly practical way to explore Cape Cod is by driving your own car. Public transportation on the Cape is spotty and limited.

    However, if you visit Martha's Vineyard or Nantucket or just plan to stay in Provincetown you won't need a car at all.

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    Bowsprit, I indeed managed to visit much of Cape Cod using the Plymouth and Brockton bus, Peter Pan/Bonanza bus, and Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority buses. One or more of these run with a fair bit of frequency, covering a good bit of the Cape. Whether a car is needed or not depends on what a person wants to do and where they're staying. My experience suggests the places that become a problem without a car are:

    -several (but not all) of the National Seashore beaches.
    -the bayside (northern) areas of Dennis and Yarmouth.
    -the attractions in the western part of Brewster.

    But that leaves a lot of Cape Cod very manageable via public transport.

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    bachslunch (I love your screen name. Box Lunch used to be one of our 'go to' lunch places on Cape Cod! Haven't been in a while though): What were you able to see once the bus dropped you off? I am curious as to how far you walked from your drop off point to get to your destination from the bus stop and where you walked to. The bus will keep you in traffic on the main roads of 28, 137, route 6, etc. and the best routes on the Cape are lanes, ways, and sandy pass throughs, only accessed by a car or on foot or bicycle. A bus won't bring you there.

    I'd still suggest a car rental with 'guaranteed frequency' on a short vacation stay rather than a bus with 'fair frequency' and a set route. A bus just doesn't cut it on the Cape for a short term vacation visitor, imo.

    Since you weren't able to visit the National Seashore you'll have to come back when you have a car. It's the best thing about Cape Cod.

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    Bowsprit, thanks for the kind words. It's a fun nickname, and yes, you're right, there is a wrap sandwich chain on the Cape called Box Lunch.

    I have in fact been to some of the National Seashore beaches before, but that was back several years ago when I owned a car. Some can be reached by public transport in season (Herring Cove Beach, Race Point Beach, both in P-Town) or a fairly reasonable walk away (Chatham Light Beach, may not actually be a National Seashore beach, but still excellent). Most, though, are either a very hefty hike or car ride away -- and in fact if you plan to do a lot of beach-hopping, a car is indeed necessary.

    All the attractions I've visited on the Cape were in fact experienced during day trips or overnight excursions. I'll try to cobble together a list:

    -Bourne: there's a Peter Pan/Bonanza stop about half a mile's walk away from the Aptucxet Trading Post Museum and the Cape Cod Canal bike trail.

    -Falmouth: also reached via Peter Pan/Bonanza Bus, which drops off close by the downtown strip. Besides shops and eateries, the Falmouth Museums on the Green is close by.

    -Woods Hole: the Peter Pan/Bonanza Bus stops right by the ferry landing and the small downtown area, where the Woods Hole Historical Collection, Woods Hole Science Aquarium, and tours of the Marine Biological Laboratory and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution can be experienced nearby.

    -Hyannis/Barnstable: Hyannis is the hub area for the Plymouth and Brockton buses, as well as for most Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority bus lines. Not far from here is Hyannis's downtown strip as well as the John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum/Cape Cod Baseball Hall of Fame and Cape Cod Maritime Museum. CCRTA's Barnstable Villager bus goes into Barnstable's small downtown area, close by the Coast Guard Heritage Museum. There is a CCRTA trolley that goes past the John F. Kennedy Memorial, with a small beach close by.

    -Sandwich: unless you manage to hook things up just right with the Cape Cod Central Railroad, you're out of luck for public transport here. If you do get to the town center, many of the attractions are either right next to each other (Sandwich Glass Museum, Dexter Grist Mill, Hoxie House, Thornton Burgess House) or about a half mile walk away (Heritage Museum and Gardens). And both the Glass Museum and Heritage Museum/Gardens are among the very best non-beach/non-park-reserve attractions on the Cape. Sidewalks are very hard to come by outside of the immediate town center here.

    -Yarmouth: the only standard attractions reachable by bus here are the small ZooQuarium and Baxter Grist Mill, via CCRTA's H2O bus. Any of the mini-golf type diversions along Route 28 are also found along this bus route. The attractions along the bay side of the town (Captain Bangs Hallet House Museum, Winslow Crocker House, Edward Gorey House) are nowhere near a bus line.

    -Dennis: none of this town's attractions (save for any mini-golf type establishments on Route 28, which is on the H2O bus line) are anywhere near a bus route. That unfortunately includes Scargo Tower, the Cape Cod Museum of Art, and the Josiah Dennis Manse.

    -Harwich: CCRTA's Flex Bus route comes very close by the Brooks Academy Museum and the small downtown here.

    -Chatham: CCRTA's H2O bus stops at the edge of Chatham's downtown strip, and while the town's attractions (Chatham Railroad Museum, the Old Atwood House Museum, Old Grist Mill, Chatham Light, Fish Pier) are a bit spread out, they're all reachable if you're a good walker.

    -Brewster: CCRTA's Flex Bus route runs right past the attractions in the central and eastern part of this town (Brewster Historical Society Museum, Nickerson State Park, and Brewster Ladies Library) as well as the downtown stretch here. Unfortunately, the attractions in the western part of the town (Higgins Farm Windmill/Harris-Black House, Cape Cod Museum of Natural History, and Stony Brook Grist Mill) aren't anywhere near a bus route, and are reachable on foot only via a long and frankly often very unsafe walk along busy main roads with no sidewalks.

    -Orleans: this is actually a good place to be on the Cape if you're without a car. The Plymouth and Brockton bus, as well as CCRTA's Flex and H2O lines either end or pass through here. Most of the attractions aren't that far away from where the buses run (Jonathan Young Windmill, French Transatlantic Cable Station Museum, Orleans Historical Society at The Meeting House Museum). The sole exception is unfortunately the best of these, the Church of the Transfiguration, which is a hefty walk along a street with no sidewalk away from downtown at Rock Harbor.

    -Eastham: either the Plymouth and Brockton or CCRTA's Flex route bus run right by or not far from all the standard tourist attractions here (1869 Schoolhouse Museum, Captain Edward Penniman House, Swift-Daley House, Eastham Windmill, Salt Pond Visitor Center of the Cape Cod National Seashore).

    -Wellfleet: same buses as Easton (downtown strip, Wellfleet Historical Society Museum, Uncle Tim's Bridge, Wellfleet Pier). There is a bus stop at the turn off that eventually ends up at the Marconi Wireless Station Site, but it's about a mile walk away from there.

    -Truro: same buses as Easton, though the drop off for attractions such as the Highland Light and Highland House Museum is about a mile walk away -- no sidewalks, though the traffic isn't too bad. In season, there's a trolley/bus that runs close by the attractions above.

    -Provincetown: same buses as Easton. Many attractions here are downtown (Expedition Whydah Sea Lab & Learning Center, Pilgrim Monument & Provincetown Museum, Provincetown Art Association & Museum, Mayflower Compact Plaque, Town Hall, Provincetown Public Library) and near the bus line terminus. The Province Lands Visitor Center of the Cape Cod National Seashore and Old Harbor Life-Saving Museum can be reached from downtown by trolley/bus in season.

    If in fact you live on the Cape or are staying at a hotel/motel as a guest, you can contact CCRTA and get door-to-door van service between any two Cape destinations. The trick here is that you have to make arrangements prior to the day you want to travel this way and trips are not necessarily all that frequent or efficiently cobbled together. And it's true that travel by bus on the Cape in general may not be Boston-subway frequent or as fast and efficient as having a car. Personally, I don't mind this -- that's what bus schedules and prior research are for.

    Hope this clarifies.

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    Clarifies????? It's the definitive answer to using buses on the Cape! Fabulous post and I've earmarked it! You are too, too much. And you've given great information.
    Thank-you! Is it possible to bring a bike on the bus?

    For those who want to try the bus, print out this great information.

    Many of the 'attractions' are quite a distance from the bus drop off points, however. A 1 mile walk along some of these roads wouldn't be convenient for many. However, if you're hale and hearty, you might enjoy the experience. If not, there's an Avis or Enterprise car rental service in Orleans that will deliver your rental car right to your hotel room or vacation home door. ;)

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    Fascinating stuff Bachslunch and I think we might take up this public transport idea if we had more time or only wanted to explore the Cape. With less than 4 weeks to see as much of New England as possible, the flexibility of the car is unbeatable. As an aside, anyone thinking of going to Malta will find buses provide the very best way to travel and see the island.
    At the end of our trip we need to find a hotel that is convenient for both the airport at Newark and for a day trip to Manhattan by public transport - any ideas? I have no idea if the area near Newark is still part of the suburbs or more countryish. If it's just built up I suppose we might be better off staying in Manhattan but if there are green places we would prefer that.

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    Was hoping the post above would be useful -- glad it was. But then again, that's one of the things this site should be about. :-)

    Re bikes: yes, if memory serves the CCRTA buses do have bike racks on their front ends, so you can bus it out to a particular spot and bike from there if you're so inclined. The Peter Pan/Bonanza and Plymouth and Brockton buses have luggage carrying space underneath, and I've seen people put bikes in those spaces.

    Re being "walkable": for me, a half-mile or even mile walk isn't a big deal. This admittedly may be a challenge for some folks, and for them a car is probably more appropriate -- depends on the person. It's also true that the attractions in Bourne, Truro, and Chatham as well as the Marconi Station Site in Wellfleet do require half-mile to mile walks each way from bus stop areas, but those in Falmouth, Woods Hole, Barnstable, Hyannis, Harwich, Eastham, East and central Brewster, a few in Yarmouth, and most of Orleans and Provincetown and Wellfleet require a minimal amount of such walking. And as mentioned above, other attractions just can't be reached reasonably this way.

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    Good to know about the bike racks, etc. Very helpful post.

    Lynny2: Sorry I can't help you with a hotel in N.J. or N.Y. You might post on the New York forum too for information about hotels convenient to Newark and Manhattan.

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    lynny2, for your Newark-proximity stay, there are some posters here who really enjoy staying at a hotel in I think Secaucus. While the area is largely ex-urban sprawl*, the proximity to the airport is good and prices may be less expensive. Sorry I don't know more specifics, but there have been fairly recent posts about this so a search here might bring up something...

    FWIW, last night I was in the town of Rutherford, NJ. (Not to be confused with the adjacent East Rutherford, of Meadowlands fame.) I'd never been before but it looks cute, if not particularly polished, and the local people I met at an event were really nice. Driving into town, there was a stretch of large old homes beautifully lit up for the holidays... It looks like an NJ Transit train station is right in the center of town. I mention this because it also is not far from either Newark (1/2 hour drive in rush hour traffic) or midtown Manhattan and maybe a bit more of a "green place", if you find a hotel there...

    * Newark, NJ is in the middle of a vast industrial landscape that is a legacy from the Industrial Age to present. The Port of Newark is one of the largest container ports in the country, and driving through nearby Elizabeth requires rolling up the windows against the chemical smell. But that's not to say there's not nice areas, even in a town like Elizabeth. And since we're so densely populated around here, it only takes a 15 or 20 minute drive to be in beautiful old suburbs with plenty of trees and parks. Unfortunately, these are primarily in the opposite direction from NYC!

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    Well, if you don't see Lubec, Maine, you haven't seen the Real Down East and that is very important. Lubec is the eastern most town in the continental USA and is absolutely beautiful and pristine -- surrounded by water on three sides with endless water views including lighthouses, fishing boats, Campobello Island, seals, soaring eagles, seagulls and other birds that shall remain nameless (since I don't now what they are). Nevertheless, Lubec celebrating its bicentennial in 2011 and will be busier than ever during the summer months. There are good restaurants and quaint inns. The best of all is Water Street Tavern and Inn at 12 Water Street, Lubec, Maine 04652. Come join us - we are open all year except for one week at Christmas.

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    I agree that you need a car rental to see New England is any sort of efficient way. I also do not think the idea of dropping the car and training from Boston to New York is wise, there is a lot of Western New England you'd miss. The only places it's a pain to have a car are Boston, NYC, and the islands. Since you can't see everything anyway, I'd just do Cape Cod and skip the islands this trip, there is so much else to see and then you won't have to worry about car ferry,etc.

    You mention one day in NY. Have you been before? Have no interest in it? But since you specifically say one day I assume you know what you want. But stay in Manhattan, Newark is not at all "green".

    This is the itinerary I think gives you the "best" of New England, and the "best overview".

    Fly into Boston, spend about 5 days. Perhaps do a day trip to Salem on the commuter train.

    Rent a car, drive to the cape. If you are interested in history make a stop at Plimouth Plantation. Spend about 3 days.

    Drive to Newport RI and spend a day (perhaps two nights).

    Drive north (I-495) (around Boston) to I-95 to Portsmouth NH. Spend the night.

    Continue north into Maine. Take the coastal route (not I95) and stop in York, Cape Neddick, Ogunquit (nice hike for about a mile along the water), and Kennebunkport. Then get back on the highway to Portland. Spend a couple of nights there, be sure to get out to see Portland Head Lighthouse.

    Continue north - highlight of the next stretch are Boothbay Harbor Region, Camden and Rockland (Owl's Head). There are numerous peninsulas jutting out into the Atlantic. You could spend days exploring the region, or get a good taste of it in just one or two.

    Go as far as Acadia, spend a couple of days.

    Head west to the White Mountains of NH.

    Head west to Vermont, through the Green Mountains to Burlington. Then south to the Green Mountain National Forest.

    Then continue south through the Berkshires (Stockbridge), and then further south through the Litchfield Hills of Conn.

    That puts you almost to New York. Once you hit southern Conn, anyplace you can find to drop the car you can probably take the train the rest of way with no problem.

    How long you spend in any of these places depends on your interests, but this route gets you the highlights and a really nice overview of the best of New England without any backtracking.

    Here are some photos to get you in the mood http://www.pbase.com/annforcier/new_england

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    Thank you so much for your responses; I really appreciate the advice. I have just ordered a larger scale map of New England so that I can track some of the suggestions and finalise our plans.

    We have been to NY and although I love the place, my husband is not so keen (too many shops!).

    Thank you for the superb photos Isabel.

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    lynny2: If you become a member of AAA (triple 'A'), they'll also put together and map a suggested route for your trip for the price of membership. There are other perks to be had with an AAA membership. You can check their website to see if this is right for your U.S. trip.

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    I really think that a car is the best way to see the outer Cape. But with that said, be aware that the Flex bus that bachslunch mentioned will venture up to a mile off the scheduled route....that's way they call it Flex. You can make a reservation (for an extra $1) for a pick up as well so even if you do have a car, you might want to investigate some bus options. You can see all of your non-car options at http://www.smartguide.org/capecod/land-links.html

    As for distances and travel times on the Cape...it takes about 45minutes to drive from the bridge (Sagamore) to Eastham on Rt 6, where the National Seashore begins, and another 30 minutes to drive to Provincetown. Getting around on the other roads like 6A, 28, 132 etc, especially in the Hyannis area, will take additional time due to traffic and lights.

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