Toronto - New B. which drive?

Old Apr 27th, 2006, 04:40 PM
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Toronto - New B. which drive?

Hello! This board has been so helpful in the past I wonder if I can get some more help please!!

My husband, dog and most importantly - 2 year old son are driving to visit relatives in St.Stephens New Brunswick. We are leaving from Oakville Ontario (just west of Toronto) and mapquest tells us to go south through the States...when we do a search from Toronto it says go to Montreal and cross into the states.

So here are my questions for you oh wise Canadian travelers...
Which direction is more reasonable? We were thinking of driving 5 hours and stopping for a night then 5 more hours stopping and then again to St.Stephen - if we do this timing where should we stop for our nights? If we stop in Montreal any recommendations for where to stay?

Too much? Any help would be fantastic!
Thanks
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Old Apr 27th, 2006, 05:06 PM
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I'd drive in a circle.

South from Niagara Falls, to Maine, to New Brunswick.

Visit.

Then north to the St. Lawrence River, Quebec City, Montreal, Toronto, home.

I've done this, from Etobicoke, or downtown Toronto, at lest a dozen times.

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Old Apr 27th, 2006, 06:01 PM
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Thanks! I have been looking at that option. I guess at this point places to stop are the driving force behind decisions...

What would you suggest? We have considered doing Toronto - Pointe Claire Que (stay a night) then to Augusta Maine (?!?!) stay a night then on to N.B - is this sensible? We will likely return to Ontario re routing to Haliburton....complicated eh?!!

Since you clearly know what you are doing...what feedback may you have on what I have come up with this far??

Thanks
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Old Apr 28th, 2006, 10:08 AM
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BAK is right -- one way through the US, the other all in Canada -- it's a tradition! We've done the trip many times (but headed a lot farther east) and are always amazed that no matter which route you take it always seems to be the same amount of time.

The downside of heading to Montreal and then down is that you have to deal with both Toronto and Montreal traffic and the border, and some off-interstate roads in the US. The Vermont-NH piece can be a nice drive, but for lower stress you may prefer heading to Niagara Falls and taking the NY State Thruway.

You could do Oakville to Albany, then Albany to Freeport, Maine -- north of Portland, south of Augusta -- and home of LL Bean. It's a good place to stop with lots of things for even a two-year old to look at (trout pond, climbing wall), you can walk around town and there are inexpensive places to stay and eat.

And by staying in Canada on the way back you avoid delays with border crossings and can drink as much Tim Horton's coffee as you want! Also, the speed limit in a lot of NB is 110km/hr and historically Quebec speed limits have been, shall we say, flexible - so the miles go by pretty quickly.

If you haven't done a lot of long distance driving with your son you'll need to experiment to see what works best for you and for him. I know some parents who like to leave at 4am with the kids still sleeping in their PJs and others who like to get a few hours head start the night before. And even my most anti-TV mom friend swears by the DVD player in the car!
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Old Apr 28th, 2006, 03:25 PM
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Well you both making convincing arguments for staying in Canada one way - especially with the Timmy's reference....as I will be the primary driver.. So if I were to surrender to my son and say stop in Ottawa prior to arriving in Haliburton on the way back from N.B what would you suggest for the other Canadian stop?

So on the way to N.B you would suggest Albany and Freeport...sounds like that could be fun too - maybe we will do two stops in the U.S as you have suggested - on the way there but on the way to cottage country leaving N.B we may do one stop - Quebec city...

Any further input would be GREAT - but thanks thus far...really very helpful!
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Old Apr 28th, 2006, 08:31 PM
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It's not as easy to get directly to St. Stephen as you might think. The problems are boredom and lack of roads.

Anyway, I've driven to the Maritimes many times, sometimes in a hurry and sometimes with lots of time.

Five hours of driving is not very much. Are you new to this driving-travel business?

Travelling at a relaxed pace, here's what I'd do. And there are some variations.

What time of day do you want to leave?

1A: Leave Oakville around 6:30 am, before the traffic is awful, and drive into Toronto, up the Don Valley, to 401 and keep going past Kingston and Gananoque to the Ivy Lea Bridge, and cross into the United States.

Oakville to Kingston is about 3 and a half to four hours, and another half hour to the bridge. So you'll be in the USA around 11.

OBEYING THE SPEED LIMIT (because NY State Troopers will be waiting for you) drive south on Interstate 81 to Watertown, which is full of fast food restaurants and a good spot to buy gas and have lunch.

FRom Watertown, head across New York State through nac lake and Lake Placid, and up to Fort kent.

Take the ferry across Lake Champlain to Burlington, Vermont.

And you might choose to stay there for the night.

1B: Get on the QEW and head the other way, crossing into the USA at Queenston, and take the New York Thruway (toll) to Syracuse.

This is even more boring than highway 401.

From Syracuse you can head across New York State and enter Vermont near Bennington or head a bit more north through Glen Falls and into Vermont near Rutland, cross Vermont and go into new Hampshire near Lebanon.

Or... there are a lot of choices ...

If you like big highways, continue East from Syracuse along the New York Trruway to Albany, and then follow Interstate 90 into Massachusetts, and the Berkshite Mountains.

You can follow Interstate 90 all the way to Boston.

Turn left, and follow Interstate 95 to New Hampshire, cross this state, and you are in Maine.

This gives you superhighways instead of the two lane highways through the woods of New York state, Vermont and New Hampshire.

To me, the most time spent on the coast is the goal. From southern Maine, you can stick on the coastal highway (Number 1) and, with the help of a Maine highway map, stop pff in Boothbay Harbor, Roclkland, Camden, and Lincolnville. In Lincolnville there a town beach where the boy can play for a while ont he sand, and see how cold the water is. It's not for swimming -- too cold -- but fun to play. and there's a great sea side, low priced, lobster restaurant there.

Or you could take Interstate 95, one of the most boring interstates in the USA. At Bangor, you'd get off the interstate and onto an even more oring, except for the terror of coping with the logging trucks, and drive through the woods to Calais and then St. Stephen.

If you stay on the coast highway, you can go to Acadia National park -- a great place -- and the town of Bar Harbor -- another great place -- and even go to Campabello island, and then take a couple of little ferries back to the Canadian Mainland.

OR....

If you go to Burlington, Vermont, you can angle across a couple of states and hit the Maine coast at any of several points. My choice is to get to the coast low down, near Portland.

COMING HOME IS EASIER -- maybe.
"Maybe" because if you're all the way to new Brunswick, maybe you want to see more of the provice, or go to PEI.

Anyway, assuming you are coming straight from St. Stephen.

Just drive north through Fredericton, Grand Falls, Edmunston, and into Quebec and to Riviere du Loup, at the St. Lawrence River.

Turn left. Drive to Quebec City.

I left Moncton once around 10 am and was in Quebec City around supper time.

The problem for this part of the trip is there are not a lot of nice places to stay before you get to Quebec City. I've stayed in a resort-like place, the name of which I forget, just west of St. Jean Port Joie several times.

In Quebec City, there are lots of motels and small hotels in St. Foy, at the west end of the city. For travellers just passing through, this may be better than coping with the older part of the city, downtown.

Regardless of where you stay, it's worth the effort to drive downtown, even with a sleepy little boy, for a walk on the boardwalk behind the Chateau Frontenac.

Next day, get up early, drive through Montreal and, depending on where in Haliburton you are going, head for 401 and then turn north, or head for 417 to Ottawa, and then highway 60 toward Algoinquin park and then turn off to Haliburton.

In Ottawa, the Museum of Civilization, in Hull, has a great children's museum, and if the two year old is two and a half or almost three, there's lots of stuff they a little kid like this would really enjoy.

Wherre to stay? Where to stop? How far to drive every day?

It's really hard to say. When I travelled as a child, we used to try to stop around 4 inthe afternoon, because my father and mother tried to find motels with pools, which I liked. But the two year old doesn't care. He will, at four or five.

When the situation turned and my father was in his 80's, we used to get up early, drive an hour or so before breakfast, and often have dinner around 7 -8 and drive another hour. We figured getting closer to our destination was better than watching tv in a Days Inn in the middle of nowhere, USA.

Portland, Boothbay Harbor, and Bar Harbor are all good places to have lunch or dinner and wander around town for an hour or two, with a little boy in a stoller and running free.

In the Berkshires, Stockbridge is a good walking around town. So is Bennington, Vermont.

If you head toward Boston, north of there, Gloucester and Cape Ann are good places to stop for lunch, or overnight, with scenic places to go for walks with the stroller after dinner.

In many ways, it's a lot easier to travel without reservations in the USA. It usually pretty easy to find a mid-priced motel in the mid-late afternoon. What we used to do more recently is, around 2-3 pm, figure out more or less where we would be around 7, and we'd stop at a chain we liked, and use there reservation system to reserve rooms another 100-150 miles along the road. I did a lot of travelling with two guys in the 80s -90s, and this worked well.

And if I'd been travelling with a little boy, I would have found it easier than in Canada to find good mid-priced family friendly restaurants where a little guy would be happily accepted as a customer, and parents would eat a lot better than at McDonalds.

Perkins, Cracker Barrel, Bob Evans, Shoney's, Denny's, Applebee's...

Except for me, when I was in Mass and Maine, I was looking for lobster places.

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Old Apr 29th, 2006, 06:27 PM
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WOW....
I mean really - WOW...that is fabulous. Thank you so much for that truly intensive input. And yet - good grief...in my overly simplistic way I thought I had it all figured out...but after all of that input I realized I was utterly ridiculous in my efforts to plan this.

I will have to print off this thread to get the most of what you have said as I am using a computer mapping system and I want to include all your possibilities. My son does love pools actually so your idea of stopping at motels to get in a swim is brilliant...and the idea of beach time is great too - I guess I am unnerved about treking blindly through the States...not because it isnt the best idea but because it is unchartered land with a child...I have done the trek to NB once - we did Canada all through one way and the US on the way back...without a child it was challenging and adventurous but with a child I fear...just lots of fear...

But the restaurant point is a good one as I will die of a cardiac arrest if I eat all that fast food..and I know you are absolutely right about restaurant offerings being greatly improved in the US..

Now here is a fear - what if I get to Vermont and never want to leave therefore not arriving in NB at the In Laws house?!!??!

Well I guess there is always Haliburton too - we are heading to West Guilford.

Thanks again for your input - I will be trying to add it to my map searches so I may be back begging for more input - hope you are still around and willing to assist - Thanks again everyone!
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Old Apr 29th, 2006, 08:04 PM
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I think Vermont is boring, so would not worry about staying there.

Maine, on the other hand, is a great place, as far as I'm concerned.

Ocean and lobster...

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