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New England New York driving route road trip advice

New England New York driving route road trip advice

Old Jun 1st, 2016, 06:05 AM
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New England New York driving route road trip advice

Hello,
Husband, 19 month toddler and I will be heading to the USA 5th june with return flights to JFK from Australia. a brief overview of our trip is 10 nights NYC, 4 nights washington DC and 10 nights driving around New England.

With our finalized itinerary, we would really really appreciate suggestions/help with driving advice- eg routes to take/not to take- common traffic/congestion issues/ best time to drive/ places where google grossly underestimates driving times/ scenic routes, roads or nearby villages. here is a map with our hotels
https://goo.gl/maps/v96GA5dDY862

dates and itinerary as follows
-14th June: pick up car from New York (staying home2suites LIC, queens) (will this day drive to woodbury common premium outlets
-15th June: drive to Washington DC, our hotel the Americana in Arlington (has free parking)
-19th June, a Sunday: drive towards Burlington in Vermont- have a "free night", ie not yet booked an overnight stop en-route to Vermont- thinking to just wing-it and pull up somehwere (scranton, hudson valley, berkshires, Manchester, albany - this day is totally unplanned not sure what to visit- or if we just drive and enjoy and see how far we get with our toddler)
-20 June, overnight in Colchester VT, main purpose to visit Burlington, ben&jerrys, surrounds? cheese? farms? is it possible to also visit Woodstock VT?
- 21-23rd June, 2 nights 3 days. stay in Jackson at The Wentworth. explore Kancamangus highway, franconia notch, drive Mt Washington, possible visit to north conway area (shopping?) look for covered bridges, nearby villages etc
23-26th june, 3 nights 3/4 days, stay at Travelers Inn Brunswick, ME but purpose is to visit coastal Me/NH. Portland, Portsmouth, Camden/Rockland/boothbay others have suggested Bailey's Island, Orr's Island, South Harpswell, and Cundy's Harbor are just a few miles out of town. Aim- eat good lobster, explore coastal villages, see some lighthouses etc.
27-28 june, 2 nights Boston, Hotel 140 in back bay area. need to find overnight parking.
28th june, tuesday: our last night in USA. dont know where to stay, need to drive to JFK NY on the 29th June Wednessday, for our 6pm return flight. we intended to stay in newport RI but people have mentioned we should double the suggested drive time to JFK due to traffic????? is this really correct?

Note- we will likely have too much luggage (esp with Toddler), so dropping off car and picking up to save on parking and car hire is not in our interest.
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Old Jun 1st, 2016, 06:55 AM
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Whenever you can avoid any road with "I" in it. Stick to parkways if you can because they allow only cars and no trucks. And to a large degree no tolls, though they are almost unavoidable in the northeast and are not cheap.

For example, if you take the Palisades Parkway as far north as you can to get to Woodbury Commons, you can minimize your need to drive on the crowded major highways. (But you have to pay two expensive tolls to get across the Bronx in order to do this, though I think you have to do that regardless.) If you pick up your car in Manhattan, then you will only have to pay one toll.

When in DC, be aware that certain sections of the Metro in Virginia and Maryland are going to be closed for weeks at a time starting early next week. Some of those closures are around National Airport and could affect you. I don't know all the details, but they are on the Metro web site. Be sure to check before you go.

Just FY, I would not have chosen to go to Woodbury Common on this trip. It's not really on the way to DC and there are other outlet malls in Massachusetts that are closer to your route. Any chance you could rethink that? If you do go to the outlet mall, then take I-81 as far as Harrisburg. I'm wondering if you could switch to US 15 from there, but it goes through a lot of small towns and will be slow. But if you don't mind driving, you could go through Leesburg. It's a very pretty area to meander through.

On your final leg from Boston to NYC, would you consider doing Woodbury Common that day? It would be a long drive from Boston, but you'd arrive in late afternoon if you left fairly early, and that's the best time to do your shopping since you will know how much you can bring home, and there are hotels there to spend the night, and it's not as far from JFK as Providence (probably no more than 2-1/2 hours on a busy weekday.
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Old Jun 1st, 2016, 07:37 AM
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If you want to stop at Woodbury Common (which is ok to do and has as large # of outlet stores) then I would make that on your way north from DC to VT - it is right on your planned route. Stopping on your way south to DC will add several hours driving to the trip.

As for a stop along the way north consider Saratoga Springs for a stop-over. It is ~30mi north of Albany and also directly on your route. June 20th or so is well before busy tourist season (horse racing), and there are plenty of hotels. Hampton Inn, Embassy Suites (new), and Hilton are all right in town. Hilton Garden Inn is 1/2 mi south of town.

Another stop I'd add is a 1/2 day at Lake George before you head to VT. The route you've chosen through Ft. Ann, Whitehall NY, then north on Rt22 is not the recommended route to Burlington - it's neither the fastest nor the most scenic. I work with a large # of people who do this drive weekly and they all take I87 to exit 28, then over to VT across the new bridge over lake Champlain as the fastest route.

A more scenic route is to follow Rt 9N along Lake George, through Ticonderoga then Addison VT. This will take you along the entire west side of beautiful Lake George.

If you want more info about either Saratoga or Lake George, let me know. There are several small, quiet town beaches along the west side that are perfect for an hour or 3 stop over, let the toddler splash in the water, relax with a picnic.
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Old Jun 1st, 2016, 11:31 AM
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All good advice, especially on Woodbury, which is in the opposite direction from Washington and makes no sense. Or doesn't if I am thinking of the right Woodbury Common. If you want to see the country, Doug and J62 give good advice.

I will just toss in, and I am not a train nut, that I would consider taking the train from NYC to DC, then picking up the car for the road trip from there.

Have a great time, whatever!
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Old Jun 1st, 2016, 03:00 PM
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Hi- wow, than you so much for the speedy replies - esp since we leave in 4 days (although we dont drive for another 2 weeks).

One thing- i dont know how this is getting mixed up but we plan to visit woodbury premium outlets on the 14th with our car BUT drive back to LIC for our last night in new york. then we drive to washington DC a new day on the 15th.

we could pick the car up on the 15th but since i really wanted to go to the outlets i thought pick up the car a day earlier and drive there- rather than paying $70 or more for tourist bus tickets with fixed return times.
i see from your advice we could do woodbury enroute from washington to burlington- or on our very last day and might consider this as an alternative.

loving the road sugestions- thank you again in advance
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Old Jun 1st, 2016, 03:09 PM
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Hi J26 i would like some more info on the areas you suggested between washington DC and Burlington VT? we do need somewhere to stop overnight which means we could spend half a day or so exploring one of the regions you mentioned- AND we are interested in more scenic routes in our driving- esp since its our taste of the area.

We also hope can find overnight accommodation on a sunday night by driving around where we end up? otherwise we will book a couple days ealier.
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Old Jun 1st, 2016, 05:06 PM
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You definitely do NOT want to pick up a car on the 14th in NYC, drive to Woodbury, then back to LIC. 6/14 is a Tuesday/work day, and traffic in all directions between LIC & Woodbury will be a nightmare in the afternoon.

I have family who drive from Arlington VA to Saratoga 1-2x per year, and it's more than a 1/2 day drive. More like 6.5 hrs with minimal stop, 7.5 to 8 for them since they have small kids and stop for a meal along the way. Woodbury commons area would be closer to 4.5 to 5hrs, so more do-able in a half day. I would rate the area around Woodbury as not in itself worth exploring.

Here's an option - perhaps acks or others who are familiar with the Hudson Valley can chime in as well.

What we call the "Hudson Valley" region stretches from NYC north to basically Albany. The parts that are most often considered tourist worthy include this list:

On the western side of the river (not far from I-87), from S. to North.
- Storm King art center (large scale / outdoor sculpture garden (if you can call ~1000 acres a garden)
- Bear Mountain State Park - including a drive to the top of Bear Mtn itself for a nice view of the mountain areas.
- West Point - US Military Academy - haven't visited in many years so I don't know the current protocols/interesting sights there.
- Walkway over the Hudson (1880's rr bridge high over the river that is now a pedestrian walkway. You can access it from either side. Highland on the west, Poughkeepsie on the East. - nice views, but not much else
- Town of New Paltz (cute small town, never much interested me as a tourist destination)
- Town of Woodstock (yes, this is THE Woodstock) - also never much interested me.

Lodging in that area consists mostly of highway exit chain motels - suitable for an overnight, but nothing more. If your just looking for a room with a bed, then the Hampton Inn near Woodbury may fit the bill.

Then that's about it on the West side of the Hudson.

On the other side of the river there are a number of large, historic Mansions from wealthy industrialists of the late 1800's / Early 1900s, including the Rockefeller (near Tarrytown), Roosevelt, and Vanderbilt mansions (near Poughkeepsie), as well as the FDR presidential library & the Culinary Institute of America (CIA - no, not THE CIA). Poughkeepsie itself is nothing to write home about, but there are several decent chain motels in the area that you could use for an overnight - would still be a long drive from Arlington but not as far as further north.

Then 30-45min north of Poughkeepsie are several quaint/small towns such as Rhinebeck & Hudson.

People who love historic mansions, history, antique shopping, etc like these sights. Not my cup of tea, but your mileage may vary.

Albany is more of a pass through town. State capital, large state university (now on summer break), and not much else. I'm partial to Saratoga (my fair city) as a nice place to live & visit, and even more partial to the beautiful lakes & open space of the Adirondack Mountain region that includes Lake George I mentioned above.

Hope this helps.
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Old Jun 1st, 2016, 05:22 PM
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I'm a little confused on your two nights in Boston but I'll assume it's the 26 to the 29th. Parking is expensive in Boston, as you've probably anticipated. Checking www.boston.bestparking.com there is a garage near you on Stuart St. between Berkeley and Clarendon for $114. I guessed at times so your price may be different.
You can do better and worse parking further away but I'd look for a covered garage and not leave any items in view. Put your purchases in the trunk. Boston is safe but having stuff in view in a parked car is a temptation.
You could save money parking at a MBTA station outside of the city but carrying all your stuff and your child on the subway would be a chore.
I think Newport is a good place for your last half day and night. Just allow enough time to get to the airport. Summer is the time when ther is a lot of road work being done, often causing delays.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2016, 02:35 AM
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Woodstock VT is a pretty little tourist town. I don't think your toddler will enjoy the Ben and Jerry's tour. You can buy the ice cream any place and I think it would make more sense to buy some ice cream and find a good playground. For example, Beech Hill Farm in Hopkinton NH is a great ice cream place with farm animals to visit and a huge sand pile with truck for children to enjoy.

We were just in North Conway and I was dismayed by the number of crappy discount stores such as dollar stores. I think there is a better selection of stores at the Tanger Outlet Mall in Tilton NH but for an even better variety would be the Kittery outlet malls on Rt 1 just before you go over the bridge to Portsmouth NH. You would have ME sales tax. Also if you altered your route I think you and your toddler would enjoy Squam Lakes Science Center that has trails to see NH wildlife in natural habitat. The live animal demos are great. The only thing that was not great was being there at the same time as buses full of children and everyone trying to watch them feed the otters.

Brunswick is a great college town and we love driving around the Harpswells. Cundy's Harbor for lobster is a great idea. There is a small public beach in the Harpswell area where you could enjoy some quiet time. I think it's on the list of public conservation areas you can get on the website. It looks out on a small working harbor whereas Boothbay is a very busy tourist town which we usually skip since it's hard to find a parking place. We carry bag chairs and picnic supplies so when we find a scenic spot we can just sit and enjoy the scenery. Fort Williams Park in South Portland is one of the places we enjoyed. Bought some great lobster rolls from the Bite Into ME food truck parked there, picked a spot and enjoyed the view overlooking Casco Bay. I don't recall if there is a playground there but it is a large and very beautiful park with a lighthouse.

BTW south of North Conway are the small towns of Chocurua/Tamworth. Right in the village the highway goes past a mill pond. There is a sweet little park that you can't see from the road that looks out on the waterfall. Saw some picnic tables. You'll find lots of good little spots throughout New England where you can take a break from driving, have a snack, stretch your legs.

The Wrentham outlet mall village might be on your route thru Massachusetts.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2016, 03:22 AM
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"i see from your advice we could do woodbury enroute from washington to burlington- or on our very last day and might consider this as an alternative"

Much better idea. You really don't want to drive that far up into Connecticut and back as a day trip. You want to stop there on the way to something else.

You absolutely, positively need to be at JFK three hours before your flight, maybe more given the current security crisis. In most cases, if you miss your flight you will have to buy a whole new ticket. That can't be cheap between JFK and OZ.

To be at JFK AT 2, I would leave Boston at 9 and hope that there are no accidents on the already congested roads.

Actually, I wouldn't do that at all. I would make a booking to go back to my hotel in LIC the night before.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2016, 04:57 AM
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"You really don't want to drive that far up into Connecticut and back as a day trip."

Woodbury Commons is near Harriman, NY, (not Woodbury, CT) but I agree that it is still not a great idea as a day trip by car during your stay in LIC. As others have mentioned, chances are you will pass quite near there on your way from Washington, DC to New England. The outlets are just off the New York State Thruway.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2016, 05:22 AM
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You can take a bus to/from Woodbury Commons and NYC if you just want to spend a few hours there.

https://www.newyorksightseeing.com/w...-new-york.html
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Old Jun 2nd, 2016, 07:53 AM
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Actually, I wouldn't do that at all. I would make a booking to go back to my hotel in LIC the night before.

Me too. I don't like to be more than an hour away from whatever airport I'm flying out of. Even then, we almost missed a flight from Hartford (leaving from New Haven) because of an accident on the way there.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2016, 07:54 AM
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Except I'd stay in Manhattan that last night, that way you can enjoy the morning before you have to leave for the airport.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2016, 02:12 PM
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Major embarrassment on location of Woodbury Commons.

Doesn't change the route, but actually makes it easier to hit it on your trip north, but I confused it with the destination antique center in Woodbury, CT

Sorry!
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Old Jun 2nd, 2016, 11:21 PM
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Thank you so much for driving suggestions. So so helpful.

Another question regarding woodbury outlets. So we can't alter our car booking now (hubby just paid in full b4 i got a chance to change pickup date). we pick up our car one full day&night (14th June) before we drive from NYC-LIC to Washington dc. many say driving to woodbury is a bad idea, but my logic was even a bus has to drive 1hr and the bus isn't cheap and would require us getting to bus stop having set times etc so i thought driving would be more convenient esp with toddler? Am i wrong? In any case since it will be a tuesday can pple suggest the good times to drive/ return to best avoid peak traffic? What is worst case scenario traffic like from lic to woodbury? I was thinking leave lic around 1pm and return in the evening after dinner?

Alternatively we could drive somewhere else to discover and leave woodbury for after Washington like suggested. But as i expect to spend hours in woodbury i also would rather use our 2 days ( 19-21st june) of driving from Washington to burlington seeing some sights along the way for eg the berkshires or the great places J62 has mentioned etc instead of in outlets.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2016, 02:34 AM
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You are correct, driving by car to Woodbury outlets is more convenient than bus - it's the return to NYC that is the problem. My guess is best case it'd take 1.5 hrs. Worst case, over 2 hrs. In addition to normal weekday congestion in all directions through norther NJ and NYC you also have to contend with additional traffic headed to the NY Mets baseball game, also in Queens, that starts at 7pm.

I think you best options are a) get the car on the 14th, but stay in NYC, or b) head south towards DC and stop somewhere along the way. I'd opt for b, since after 9 days in NYC I personally would be looking for to be somewhere without crowds. (that's just me).

How about near Harrisburg, Hershey or Lancaster PA through the Amish region? If you do go that route I can promise you you'll know the moment you enter Lancaster County PA - and it won't be because of any Amish buggies on the road...
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Old Jun 3rd, 2016, 02:38 AM
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Well, if you go to the outlets, I think you will be near Bear Mountain State Park which has great scenery, outdoor activities, a zoo and a round-about for your toddler.

You could cross the Hudson on the spectacular Bear Mountain Bridge and return to NYC on one of the parkways, scenic roads that do not permit trucks.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2016, 06:14 AM
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If you are all set to go to Woodbury Common on June 14, can you get out of your hotel and NOT drive back to NYC? That would at least save you two hours of driving.

Basically, the outlet mall is a bit over an hour from my apartment on the Upper East Side. It will be at least 20 minutes further for you, so you have to allow at least 2 hours travel time in case you get stuck in traffic, though I think that is unlikely on a Tuesday morning. Still, traffic through the Bronx is very busy on Tuesday afternoon, and you have to go that way cross the Major Deegan Expressway to reach the George Washington Bridge.

You'll encounter fewer delays on the NJ side if you take the Palisades Parkway, which you reach directly from the George Washington Bridge. The exit is directly onto the Parkway from the bridge on the right, immediately after you cross the river.

There are many hotels immediately at the outlet mall, or you can drive a bit further south into northern New Jersey and at a hotel just off 287 South. Perhaps try to make it as far as Morristown or perhaps Princeton, which is another hour. Either way, you'd hit a lot of traffic in NJ unless you waited until after 7pm, so it might be more convenient to simply stay at the mall, but that's going to add at least 90 minutes to your trip to DC the next day, making for a very long travel day.
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