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2 Week New England Road Trip (travelling from UK)

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Jan 29th, 2014, 11:13 PM
  #1
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2 Week New England Road Trip (travelling from UK)

We are a family of 2 adults and our 8 year old son, travelling from the UK to spend the last two weeks of August 2014 in the New England area (dates are fixed). We will be flying into Boston and hiring a car for the duration. To give you an idea of the kind of travellers we are…
We LOVE scenery (coastal/mountains) , nature and quaint small towns with historic architecture.
We are NOT interested in shopping malls, aquariums, museums.
The only definite ideas of places we want to visit so far are; Boston (probably just one day), Cape Code, and we would really like to go as far north as Acadia National Park. We would be very grateful for advice on (scenic) driving routes, must see places to visit, recommended lengths of stays in different places and reasonable accommodation suggestions. We are also active, so any tips on great cycling/walking spots we can take in (that are also suitable for an 8 year) would be much appreciated.
We are all looking forward to sampling the seafood, so any great restaurant advice (not too pricey though!)?
Finally, we would like to go whale watching… where would be the best place to go in the area to do this (is August even a suitable time of year to do this?!) ?
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Jan 30th, 2014, 02:24 AM
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I am going to give you a couple of bullet points rather than a connected tour.

Do not rent a car while you are in Boston. Parking will cost $40 per day, and the traffic is like London. Rent the car as you get ready to leave or tour first, then drop off the car to visit the city before you return.

My first priority would be the drive up the coast north of Boston: Cape Ann, Gloucester, Essex, Newburyport, Portsmouth, NH. Spend the night. Then Portland, Maine ( take the mailboat) Camden and Rockport, Maine, then. Bar Harbor. The route beyond Portland is not motorway, and you should allow plenty of time. Lobster and other seafood is e poverty where on this route, and while there are legendary favorites, they are not really all that different. The best experiences are eating at a fisherman's coop where they boil the lobsters on the dock and you sit at a table with a packet of crisps and dig in.

If you like mountains, you need to visit the White Mountains on the New Hampshire-Maine border. You can go back to Portland and cut in or you can take the slower US 2 highway which is more scenic and will certainly offer the chance of seeing moose and bears. There are three passes through the mountains, called notches. The Appalachian Mountain Club has centers in Pinkham Notch and Crawford Notch which can recommend hikes at all levels. Mt Washington is a bit more than 2000 meters and you can have snow in any month. You don't want to walk here less well clothed than you would in the Pennines, though below tree line, it will be mild to hot.

You can bypass Boston on Interstate 495 to go to Cape Cod. The coast north of Boston is not swim able. Cape Cod is, especially on the south-facing coast. There are whale watch tours from Provincetown. The north side of the Cape out to Brewster is quaintish, the south side is more like Blackpool -- fried seafood, miniature golf, water parks, tat, fun.

This will be a very busy time of year. You will almost certainly need to book all your accommodation in advance, and I would do it by mid -April in the more popular areas.
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Jan 30th, 2014, 02:27 AM
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Apple couldn't handle word "ubiquitous" in connection with lobster and changed it to something meaningless. Anyway, it is everywhere north of Boston. Essex is famous for fried clams, by the way.

Sorry for my iPad taking over.
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Jan 30th, 2014, 02:57 AM
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It's fun to visit as many of the lobster "shacks" as you can. If you google best lobster roll, you'll get a good list. Yes lobster tastes better sitting at a picnic table looking at the water. When you get tired of lobster, get fried clams and/or scallops.

You can get a list of farmers markets from the state dept of agriculture. I think you'll find a brochure for the ones in Maine in the tourist info centers. August would be blueberry season in Maine. You'll see trucks next to the road (Rt 1) selling berries. Local yogurt and fresh berries make a great snack. Bring some basic picnic supplies with you.

A boat trip to Monhegan Island will give you a wonderful day of easy hiking trails along the cliffs. Bring a picnic lunch with you. Also bring binoculars. There are also some nice walking trails in the Harpswells (east of Brunswick ME). Study the list of trails. Giant's Stair isn't a long walk but very nice. http://www.mainehhlt.org/conserved-land/public-access/
I can't remember the beach we found. It should be on the list and will have a warning that the access road is not maintained. Your vehicle needs good ground clearance or walk in. The lobster place in Cundy's Harbor is good.

If you get to NH's White Mountains, my favorite town is Center Sandwich. Very old, very small. It is near the Squam Lakes Science center in Holderness which has interesting nature oriented pontoon boat rides. We haven't been in years. It's on the agenda to take our granddaughters (ages 7 and 9). The Flume is an expensive and extremely popular hike thru gorges. You might do a lot better to find a family friendly hike like the one to Aurethusa Falls (no chance of spelling it correctly).

There are going to be lots of opportunities for kayaking. The Contoocook River Kayak and Canoe near Concord NH offers rentals. With an 8 year old you could pick a two person kayak. The paddle to the to beach for swimming is pretty short. A half day trip on the Merrimack River is very nice. I've done that with friends using one of their kayaks. In August the river can be very low, like knee deep in many places. You will not go near any houses. The scenery and bird life is wonderful. There are numerous small beaches where you can stop for a rest (and picnic).

This is pretty close to I93 so you can head south to I495 and Cape Cod. Probably best time to visit Cape Cod is mid-week to avoid weekend traffic. The beaches are very nice. In Maine most sandy beaches are south of Portland. York is the one my family liked.
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Feb 1st, 2014, 07:36 AM
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Whatever you do go see Acadia National Park...Awesome.
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Feb 1st, 2014, 09:49 AM
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Drive to Hyannis from Boston and park at the ferry , buy boat tickets for NANTUCKET, spend a day or a few days, beaches, history, nature trails, Whaling Museum, historic homes, fresh sea air…it is definitely the place to go! google it to see it's charms!
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Feb 1st, 2014, 03:40 PM
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I answered truthfully and I got Newcastle

I think it was the t-shirt, friendly and football that did it
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Feb 1st, 2014, 03:40 PM
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Oops wrong thread
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Feb 4th, 2014, 11:18 AM
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In Cape Cod I recommend the Brewster area. It is quaint, pretty and not a shopping mall in sight!
There is a lovely B&B called the Candleberry Inn (http://www.candleberryinn.com/)which is walking distance to the beach and a local ice cream parlor and General Store

Our favorite restaurant there is hands down the Lobster Claw (http://www.lobsterclaw.com/). It is family owned and wonderful for a traditional New England seafood dinner.

The Provincetown Whale watch noted in an earlier comment is also wonderful and highly recommended.

Boston is a huge favorite and I think you will like the Freedom Trail. It is free and gives you a nice slightly guided walk around the historic areas of the city. For food I recommend a stop at Faneuil Hall. Everything under the sun can be found there in regards to food.
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Feb 4th, 2014, 02:46 PM
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You can also go whale watching out of Gloucester. There are several companies from which to choose.
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Feb 5th, 2014, 07:30 AM
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Cape Cod is "big" at over 60 miles long. A few years back friends made a choice that in the end made for a good journey. They drove onto the Cape, visited towns and went all the way to Provincetown, enjoyed the quirky uniqueness of the town, the national seashore, whale watch etc. They then dropped off their rental car and took the ferry back to Boston.

As others have mentioned - this is high season, make reservations for rooms and meals whenever possible.
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