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2 weeks in New England

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Dec 30th, 2011, 10:47 AM
  #1
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2 weeks in New England

Traveling in August with mom and aunt. flying into boston as start/end. would like to take a driving tour of some major sites/places in MA, VT, NH (ME?) - we will probably have to limit it down. then 1 week at the beach either in nantucket or cape cod (with family and young children - so family friendly there). any ideas for possible itineraries? we won't do a lot of hiking etc. we'd like a mix of history, culture, scenic areas, small town sites, etc. i've done a lot of research, but hard to narrow down and hard to really know how much time to spend at each place and how to structure the drive/days/where to spend the night and where to just visit for the day and move on. we will branch out a few days while at the beach too - so any possible day trips/local trips from the beach location would be helpful as well. i know this is fairly broad request. thanks much!
DiamondGirl2012 is offline  
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Dec 31st, 2011, 07:18 AM
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I do not feel comfortable commenting on the north portion of your trip other then to say it is alot of driving. I myself would forget about vermont, it is just to much. Now cape cod and the island I have been to many times and could help with this. You say you will have young children so my fav's for beach would be Corporation or skaket beach both will meet your needs. The national seashore is a most, the beaches are breathtaking. My favorite is all of them, but if I had to pick Nauset would be it and Coast guard but that beach seems to shrink every year. Will you stay in hotel or rent a house? Did you decide on the Cape or Nantucket? I have stayed in Eastham at the four points sheraton and it was lovely. They have a pool that is indoor so great for the kids if the weather is not good.I enjoyed my stay there.I stayed at the crows nest in Truro and it was very nice. I had a view of Pilgram lake and from the kitchen a view of provincetown harbor.They have there own beach but at high tide the beach is gone. My picks for favorite towns are chatham with its little shopping area,lighthouse beach and the fish pier to watch fishermen unload there catch.Wellfleet has Tim's bridge and at lowtide you get to see all the little creatures that live below the water and it's a nice walk, not far at all. And finally provincetown which is known world wide for its diversity,you have shopping, whale watching trips, sailing, fishing, dune tours, clambakes on the beach, the options are many for things to do. If you have a specific question I will do my best to help answer it for you.
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Dec 31st, 2011, 09:26 AM
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First thing I'd do is narrow dow the beach dates and location and book something soon. Then work the rest of the trip around that portion of it. August is high HIGH season for the Cape, Nantucket and also Maine. Some weeks are probably full-up already with only the last week of August available.

Car rental out of Boston is also steep in August so book something then check every few weeks to see if any better deals have popped up. For flights, stay away from weekday traffic hours in and out of Boston Logan. Manchester NH often has better rates for flights and also rental cars so check that airport if there is convenient service from your departure city.
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Dec 31st, 2011, 12:48 PM
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Hello Diamondgirl 2012,

You didn't say exactly how long in August you will be traveling except for the 1 week on a beach. The states are so small and close together up there that you can really get around fairly fast. So if you are traveling the whole month of August or 2-3 weeks besides the beach time, you have a lot of time to tour the NE states. My husband and I did all the New England states in the fall of 2010 and really packed in a lot of sightseeing. It's too bad you can't go a little later, say in late Sept or early Oct to see the leaves.

Anyway, if you leave Boston and go north up to Maine traveling on I-95 you could stop for the night around Kennebunkport if that interests you. Then on to Augusta (we visit all the state capitols) and finally to Bar Harbor ME. Do visit the Acadia NP and drive to the top of Cadillac Mountain. The views are fantastic. Be sure to have fresh lobster at one of the many restaurants right on the harbor.
When you leave Bar Harbor go west on Hwy 1 towards NH. Stop in Bucksport ME which is a wonderfully quaint little village. There visit the Penobscot Narrow River Bridge which is the tallest observatory bridge in the world. Ft. Knox is also located there if you like forts. Leave Bucksport on HY 1 across ME. This is a pretty long span..probably 300 miles and on curvy roads so you won't make very good time here. You'll see lots and lots of trees. You may want to stop over night in Augusta (if you didn't stop earlier). Lv Augusta on Hwy 17, then pick up 2 again when almost to NH).

Once you cross into NH you'll pretty much be in the White Mountains. There are lots of scenic routes to enjoy through the mountains. We took a tour up to the top of Mt. Washington. I recommend that you do not drive yourself..it is really narrow and steep. It's very windy up on top..has the highest wind ever recorded by man..231 mph.

When we left NH, we took Hwy 302 into Montpelier VT. From here we toured the Capitol, the Rock of Ages Vermont Granite quarry, Ben & Jerrys Ice Cream Factory and Bragg Sugar Maple Farm...yum. We left Montpelier on I-89 heading south to White River Junction and the Quechee Gorge (54 miles). In the fall it was beautiful. We walked to the bottom of the gorge. Not too bad of a hike but seemed long coming back up. We're not long distance hikers, but we enjoyed the exercise.

From White River Junction you can drive back to Concord NH on I-89 (about 90 miles). Again, we visited the Capitol building here because we enjoy the history, architecture, etc. From Concord you are only about 60 miles from Boston.

We did this route in less than 12 days but we tend to pack in a lot in one day. If you have 2-3 weeks, you should have plenty of time to see all you want to see. It is a wonderful part of the country. We've been to all 50 states and this is one of my favorite trips.

I hope this helps a little. Have a wonderful trip!
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Dec 31st, 2011, 01:42 PM
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Diamondgirl,

When I was closing out, I did notice that you only have 1 week for travel. Well, that does limit things. Of my travel suggestions, I would think then, that you would have to choose between either heading up to Bar Harbor and Acadia or driving up to Montpelier VT and seeing the sights up that way. You might have time from Montpelier to go east over to the While Mountains in NH and then south back to Boston.

Whatever you choose, it will be wonderful. Safe travels.
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Dec 31st, 2011, 05:02 PM
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I live in NH and my favorite spots to recommend are Portsmouth, NH (it's downtown area is both historic and walking friendly). Another place I love is the Canterbury Shaker Village just north of Concord, NH on I-93. http://www.shakers.org/

I like Canterbury a lot because it's been painstakingly preserved, but isn't gimmicky or touristy like so many historic sites. They allow you to see a lot on the inside of the buildings.

New England can be planned out in so many ways, it's hard to advise an itinerary.
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Jan 1st, 2012, 03:43 AM
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Of course, I like Jaya's recommendations the best. You can visit Strawbery Banke historic area in Portsmouth, take the drive on Rt 1B thru New Castle which will take you past the fabulously restored Wentworth hotel. There's also a lovely drive along the coast in Rye. Take a harbor or inland rivers cruise. Good break from driving.
Maine is just across the bridge. Despite southern Maine being an easy day trip for us, it is for lots of people and we don't enjoy that part of Maine as much as we do Portland and north. If you didn't take a cruise in Portsmouth, consider the mailboat ride around Casco Bay. Not a lot of narration but a totally different look at life in Maine.

Although Bar Harbor is unique, I'm not sure it's worth the drive when you have other choices. Near Rockland you can do a very short hike to Owls Head Light (great view from the lighthouse) and you might time your visit for a Saturday at Owls Head Transportation Museum when they have a "show" in the parking lot with antique vehicles and antique airplanes flying. There's the Bath Maritime Museum which also has some short cruises. If you get that far north in Maine, drive out to one of the lobster places. Five Islands is most scenic eat on a picnic table kind of place. Dolphin Bay Marina is a nice little family restaurant and the Harpswell area is very quiet and pretty. Our vote for best lobster shack is Waterman's Beach near Owl's Head. Probably second best for scenery, nothing commercial just ocean.

Depending on when you arrive in Boston or MHT you can be in Portsmouth in an hour. Spend the first night there. If it's early enough drive over to Rye, go thru New Castle. In the morning take a cruise. Have lunch. Visit Strawbery Banke. Head to Portland for dinner. Walk around the Old Port Area. Overnight. It's about 2 hours to Rockland.

Depends on if you mind changing hotels almost every night. Two nights in the Rockland area would give you time to visit Bath, maybe Camden.

Head over the NH's White Mountains which is less than 2 hours from Portland. I think you can fit in a visit to VT. Maybe Billings Museum/Woodstock/Quechee area. Concord NH/Canterbury Shaker Village is about 1.5 hours from there down I89.
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Jan 1st, 2012, 08:58 AM
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Jan 2nd, 2012, 05:38 PM
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Wow. so many great ideas. Thank you all. We haven't decided on a beach yet, but we agree - we need to pick a beach and a week and try to work around it. We will most likely stay in a house and not a hotel. We already found some on the cape so may keep looking there. Thanks again for all of your suggestions.
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Jan 2nd, 2012, 06:14 PM
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Chatham is a great little town on the cape.

If you decide on Maine, I would go with Kennebunkport. I recommend the Colony Hotel (historic hotel with a nice pool area looking out over the ocean, and very reasonable rates). Kennebunk is very accessible to Boston. Newburyport is picturesque town in route (a nice beach, art galleries, etc).
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