4-Day Roadtrip to New England from NYC

Old May 7th, 2017, 06:35 PM
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4-Day Roadtrip to New England from NYC

Hello, we are taking a road trip into New England from Manhattan, NY this coming Thursday, returning on Sunday. Initially we were focused on Bar Harbor and there was no problem but we've had to cut down the number of days from six to four so now are completely clueless where to go.
I know we cannot be too ambitious but any advice will be welcome.
We are in our 50s and love quaint and rugged landscapes and would prefer a less touristy place. Normally we love mountains but this trip we were really keen on the Maine coastline. Is it still reasonable to plan for it? If so, where and what route is most scenic to get there? Is whale watching still a possibility? Thank you
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Old May 8th, 2017, 01:55 AM
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I've never been whale watching in New England so I'll let someone else answer that. I do like boat trips so I always recommend one out of Portsmouth NH or Portland's Casco Bay Mailboat cruise. I think it would be much too cold out in the open water right now. One time we took a boat ride along the coast in maybe June and the crew passed out blankets. Some tourists from the south didn't realize it would be cold out on the water. For a rugged landscape, you could try a day trip to Monhegan Island. We took the boat from Boothbay Harbor but there are other places. I would take a picnic lunch but Monhegan is a long boat ride so I would consider the weather.

Even though it's city, Fort Williams Park in South Portland is beautiful and spacious with terrific view looking out on Casco Bay. Check to see if Bite Into Me food truck has started parking there. Great lobster rolls. If you get an early start, you might make Portland by lunch time.

We usually stay on I95 until Brunswick which is a college town but you can go further east into the Harpswells which even in July will not have many tourists. I think a couple of the restaurants might be open now. Here's a guide to some areas you can hike http://www.harpswell.maine.gov/verti...rps._GUIDE.pdf

I think Maine Coastal Gardens near Boothbay area open now. We visited last June. East Boothbay is very scenic but even Boothbay Harbor is not crowded in June. Normally we avoid the area.

It will take at least an extra hour to do a scenic route part of the way. From Hartford CT keep going north to Brattleboro VT. Western MA will be beautiful. It's interstate but nice. From Brattleboro head to Keene NH (I think it's exit 2 or 3) then head to Concord NH. From Keene to almost Concord it will be state highways and rural. Rt 202 will merge into I89 to Concord. Then take I93N to I393 east (bypasses Concord's commercial strip). I393 will merge with Rt 4. Small towns and not too exciting but I prefer this over Rt 101 which is very boring. You will bypass Durham's UNH college and downtown and then it's rural and scenic. You will pass Wagon Hill Farm which is open to the public. If you want a short hike, there's a trail that will take you to the water which you can't see from the road. But continue on Rt 4 and then Rt 16. You'll go over scenic bridge. A lot of construction right now but this approach takes you over the Great Bay area. Rt 16 is easy access to I95N to Maine.

If you go this way, you could have lunch in the Portsmouth area instead of Portland ME.
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Old May 8th, 2017, 04:32 AM
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Four days to Maine and back? You will mostly spend your time driving there and back it seems to me.
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Old May 8th, 2017, 04:46 AM
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In New England we've always done whale watches with the Dolphin fleet out of Provincetown, MA, but there are trips out of other places in New England. If you are in the Boston area check out the Aquarium, there are trips from there. Some boats also leave from Gloucester.

Most of the boats go out to Stellwagan Bank which is where the food the whales like is.

Do have warm jackets, hats, gloves etc.
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Old May 8th, 2017, 08:58 AM
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I agree with every word from dfrost. The Harbor ferries in Portland are cheap and wonderful. If you really want to go to Maine.

You need to call ahead to find out what is open. None of the charter boats -- fishing, sightseeing, whale and seal watching -- is even in the water here in Nantucket, and we are a lot warmer than Maine.

Unless you have done it many times before, consider instead taking the ferry from Orient Point, Long Island, to New London, CT. Go on to Mystic, Stonington, and the picturesque towns in South County in RI. Cross the bridges at Narragansett and spend a day in Newport. You can go as far as Cape Cod, but you may enjoy yourselves more by finding places like Tiverton Four Corners, Adamsville, Westport Point, and Padanaram, fabulous Padanaram. You will need a GPS because the roads are almost unsigned.

Finally, Sunday is Mothers Day. Last year we had to wait in line for gas for more than half an hour on the GSP, and the Thruway from 287 to across the Tappan Zee was moving about ten miles an hour. This isn't your route, but will it be different on any other route into the City? It was a huge surprise to me because we never lived close enough to our grandmothers (or mothers) to visit for Mothers Day.
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Old May 9th, 2017, 08:32 PM
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Thank you all.
I'm digesting all this info. It seems to me like there is general agreement on Portland as part of the trip.
As to whale-watching, I have heard about how cold it can get. And yes, thank you for pointing out I must call ahead and check if there are any trips going out as yet or not.
Boothbay seems out of the question for now being as far as it is. You are right, Dianedancer, four days is too little... sigh! But that only means we do what we can at our pace.
I don't know all these routes being suggested but will definitely pore over the map to understand your suggestions. I am now considering the following:
First day reach Salem or its environs and stay the night there. It's roughly a four hour drive.
Day two we can drive up to Ogunquit or even higher and stay the next two nights in this area. We drive back on Sunday.
What do you think? Is it any worth?
Ps... Totally forgot about mothers day on Sunday! Que sera sera...
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Old May 10th, 2017, 02:35 AM
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I might stop in Ogunquit and Kennebunkport, but I would try to go on to Brunswick to stay. The coastline thereabouts is what you think of when you think "Maine Coast" -- white clapboard villages and farms, twisty gentle roads, rocky shores with big waves breaking.
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Old May 10th, 2017, 02:50 AM
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If you want sandy beaches, then the Salisbury MA north to NH beaches would make a nice visit. I recommend Petey's in Rye NH for a seafood lunch but it's crowded even in the off season so choose an odd time to go. The drive along the coast in Rye is beautiful. Rt 1B back to Strawbery Banke area in Portsmouth is very scenic.

Have only stayed in the Salem MA area once or twice. Hotel was off Rt 128 or someplace like that. If you don't have a good place to stay, I would head further north. But Ogunquit area is full scale touristy. I liked staying at the Dunes of Ogunquit because it has a nice grassy area that seems a bit secluded even though it's very close to Rt 1. I stayed in the Wells area last May so the beaches are not crowded and traffic on Rt 1 isn't too bad but weather looks pretty awful for this weekend.
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Old May 10th, 2017, 04:15 AM
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Thank you for that last input. Ackislander, that's just the kind of coastline we are imagining. I should've specified it earlier. So difficult when you don't know an area. Seems like a long drive but we may break journey and stay a night some place around Portland? Any suggestions?

And White mountains will be a good option if we make it all the way to Brunswick. Can you tell me what kind of a town/ city it is?

Thank you for clearing up the clouds. We have hardly any time left for bookings.
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Old May 10th, 2017, 04:41 AM
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ONe more thing- I'm looking at the map and wondering if Gloucester/ Rockport worked as a better exchange for Salem in the previous plan?
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Old May 10th, 2017, 09:35 AM
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Just a cooment about whale watches. Last I knew, you cut off about an hour each way in "boat time" by taking one from Gloucester instead of Boston.

Honestly,I live in the area and don't understand the appeal of Salem beyond the Peabody Essex Museum, which is great. If you like "quaint and rugged landscapess", I think you might prefer Rockport or Gloucester for your night.
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Old May 10th, 2017, 09:40 AM
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Thanks. Cut out Salem already and yes, aiming for Gloucester
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Old May 10th, 2017, 11:06 AM
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Brunswick is a low key college town with some good restaurants and shops. We have not visited anything with the college but the farmers market on the common is nice. I think it's on Fridays. When you head north to Bath, Bath is a blue collar town, home to Bath Iron Works which you can see from the bridge. Last year we saw one of the stealth destroyers they were working on. It is also home to the Maritime Museum. You can check there schedule to see if they have any boat trips planned but it may be too early in the season. Between Brunswick and Bath is a military base and a commercial area but you can take a road headed east to the Harpswells. I linked to an area of conservation properties open to the public. Giant Steps/Stairs is a nice walk along the cliff. Not as big and dramatic as the Marginal Way in Ogunquit but not as busy, either. It looks like the clock has turned back to the 60s and 70s. Some good lobster places but not many shops. Lots of places to wander and backroads to drive. I like Cundy's Harbor for lobster but it might not be open yet.
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Old May 10th, 2017, 11:57 AM
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"Just a cooment about whale watches. Last I knew, you cut off about an hour each way in "boat time" by taking one from Gloucester instead of Boston."

Maybe true in general for getting to Stellwagen Bank, where there are usually whales feeding.
Not true in some years (recent past years) when the whales were off Provincetown, or in the part of Stellwagen that is closer to it, and even the Gloucester boats were taking extra time to go there.
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