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9 nights/8 days in New England late June/early July

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Mar 27th, 2012, 09:01 AM
  #1
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9 nights/8 days in New England late June/early July

I have some UA certificates that expire soon. Planning to use them for a trip to New England June 27 - July 5. I realize that this is in the middle of prime-time vacation season, especially the last half, so would appreciate suggestions about what to see/do and the order in which to do it that might be least affected by the throngs.

We plan to fly into Portland, ME, perhaps spend the first night there (because flt. doesn't arrive there till 6:30 pm) and visit Acadia NP. Friend recommended that we stay in a B&B in Southwest Harbor. (I'd welcome recommendations about specific B&Bs.) However, I don't think we want to spend the entire time there. Where else would you recommend we go? We've been to Boston, but haven't seen all that area has to offer. We enjoy hiking (though husband's knee is bad -- soon to be replaced -- so he can't hike much now), nature/flora and flauna, kayaking, museums, and lobster, and husband enjoys golf. We'll have a rental car.

Thanks in advance for your suggestions.
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Mar 27th, 2012, 09:11 AM
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Be sure to stop at L.L. Bean in Freeport. They are true experts on what to see in Maine.
If you don't have the return flight booked, you could take the morning train on July 5 to Boston and see what you missed before your flight out of Logan.
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Mar 27th, 2012, 09:38 AM
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Portland ME is one of the foodiest places in America. You can take a food tour. It will take a good chunk of the day but ends within walking distance of Duckfat where you can have a late lunch. The Old Port area is hilly with some cobblestone streets so I'm not sure all the walking would be ok for your husband. Take a cruise of Casco Bay. The mailboat run doesn't have a lot of narrative but is a working boat.

Bath ME has a great 4th of July parade as part of their Heritage Days. Check schedules to see if lobster places are open that day. Something will be open but not everyplace. Get a map, look up best lobster in ME and start circling places on the map.

Rockland is about 2 hours from Portland so I would aim to be there for lunch. If weather is good and they are open - Waterman's Bay is the best place but it's a real shack with picnic tables in the open or on the porch. Wear hat and sunglasses if you get a table next to the water. Nothing else commercial around. If you get up early you can go to the Farnsworth Museum before lunch and the Owls Head Transportation Museum after lunch. One is art, the other classic cars and airplanes. If you DH is up for a short, easy hike, go to Owl's Head Light. Really nice view.
Head to Acadia. It will be along drive but it's up to you.
It's a weird year so lupine might be past bloom by then or even by mid-June. Keep your eyes open.
Do the Acadia things. We haven't been for quite a few years now. On the way, if you need lunch, you might aim for Just Barb's on Rt 1 in Stockton Springs. And stop for some reading material at the Chicken Barn antiques and used books which are both south of Ellsworth. We usually vacation in the Wiscasset area.
On the way back, schedule a drive up Mt Battie's auto road for the view over Camden Harbor. This is a great place to just sit a while. We take bag chairs in the car and picnic supplies. Don't forget your binoculars.

WE have not kayaked in Maine but you should be able to find some sea kayaking places.

If you really really want to go to Boston, I highly recommend one of Michelle Topor's culinary tours.
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Mar 27th, 2012, 11:52 AM
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South of Portland there's Ogunquit and the Kennebunks. Lovely areas to kayak through the salt marsh- especially the Rachel Carsons Wildlife areas - as well as the protected coves.

If you are minor league baseball fans, the Portland Seadogs are great fun.

You might be able to get tee times at the Cape Arundel Golf Club - very pretty but challenging course favored by the Bushes. The Webhannet course is said to be favored by Democrats. Both are semi-private.

In Bar Harbor, there are kayaking outfitters and tour guides. We haven't used an outfitter but have kayaked in and around the Schoonic Pennisula with experienced sea kayakers. Love the hike around Jordan's Pond ending up on the lawn at the Jordan Pond House for popovers and lemonade.

One of these days I'm going to follow dfrostnh's suggestion and get to Camden - she always makes it sound so wonderful.

Love the coast of Maine and I hope you will enjoy it also. have a great trip.
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Mar 27th, 2012, 03:04 PM
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Thanks for the suggestions thus far. I look forward to more.

I forgot to mention that, with the UA certificates, we need to fly into and out of the same aiport. We're planning to have that be Portland, ME. As I mentioned, we'd arrive around 6:30 pm on Tues., June 27. We'd depart at 2:30 pm on Thurs., July 5.

Are the White Mountains in N.H. worth a visit?
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Mar 28th, 2012, 10:29 AM
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The White Mountains are definitely worth a visit. Lots of hiking opportunities and you can either drive or take the cog railway to the top of Mt. Washington. Lots of people hike it too but its rigorous. North Conway will be very congested.
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Mar 29th, 2012, 02:57 AM
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You can also take tram rides up different mountains i.e. Cannon Mountain. The Flume is very popular but it's a long walk with lots of steps. Wouldn't suggest it for your husband. You can try zip lining in a couple of places. Squam Lakes Science Center has nature trips on the lake. Lake Winnipesaukee is just south of the White Mountains. Some people like the drive over the Kancamagus Hwy but I prefer the more southern route thru Tamworth and Center Sandwich. You can do both before lunch, making a loop. North Conway is very pretty but I agree, it's very congested.
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Mar 31st, 2012, 12:42 PM
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dfrost,

What is the southern route you refer to?
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Mar 31st, 2012, 07:50 PM
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I've mocked out a tentative itinerary, which is below. I'd greatly appreciate your reactions to it. I had thought we were tied into the dates of June 26-July 5. We still can't leave earlier than June 26, but we could leave later if that would be better.

Looking forward to your feedback!

Tues., June 26 – Fly from L.A. to Portland, ME; arr. 6:30 pm

Spend two nights in or near Portland, ME

Wed., June 27 – Portland and Kennebunkport (about 30 mi. SSE. of Portland); possibly also L.L. Bean in Freeport (about 20 mi NE of Portland; open 24 hrs.), though could do that the next morning instead (if we can get up early enough)

Thurs., June 28 – Botanical Gardens in Boothbay (about 1 hr. from Portland); try to get there in time for the 11 am docent tour; have lunch there

Farnsworth Museum in Rockland, ME

Dinner in Camden

End up in Southwest Harbor (121 mi. from Boothbay; 76 mi. from Camden)

Spend four nights (June 28 – July 1) in Southwest Harbor, probably at a B&B

While there, ride bikes to Jordan Pond, hike around the pond (3-4 mi.), and have popovers at Jordan Pond House; kayak somewhere (?Schoodic Peninsula or with National Park Sea Kayak, Maine State Sea Kayak, or some other outfitter); Cadillac Mountain; other hikes in Acadia NP; ?look around town of Corea on Schoodic Peninsula; look at town of Bar Harbor; ?dinners at Havana and Galyn’s

Mon., July 2 – Drive to Jackson, N.H (222 mi.). Is there something worth seeing in Bangor (or somewhere else along the way)?

Spend three nights (July 2-4) in Jackson

While there, visit the White Mountains (possibly take tram to top) and Lake Winnepesaukee; hike Scenic Trail in Jackson

Thurs., July 5 – Drive from Jackson to Portland, ME (69 mi); flight departs at 2:30 pm. Is there something we should try to see along the way?
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Mar 31st, 2012, 07:52 PM
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As you can see, I am currently planning on going only to Maine and New Hampshire (and not Vermont or Massachusetts).
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Apr 1st, 2012, 04:48 AM
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Deb15: It's Rt 113. Googlemap north conway to corner house, center sandwich nh to see it. Center Sandwich is one of the prettiest tiny towns in NH. We have not been to the Remick Museum in Tamworth but it looks interesting. We have, however, found the Sandwich Creamery - way off the beaten path. In this area you get some farm land views with granite backdrops.

Bangor ME: We liked the Cole Transportation Museum. At the time, they had some photos of the Lombard Log Hauler which was like a steam engine used to haul logs out of the woods. The logging history in Maine is interesting if you get away from the coast. Not too far from Bangor is the Leonards Mills Logging Museum. We happened on an event weekend when there were college teams competing in wood chopping events and the saw mill was operating. My FIL loved the collection of all chain saws. Unless there is an event going on, it's probably not worth going out of your way.

Hope you are doing the short hike to Owls Head Light while you are in the Rockland area.
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Apr 1st, 2012, 05:14 AM
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It sounds like a beautiful trip. While in Camden if looking for a beautiful and relaxing place to stay, however not inexpensive, check out http://www.innbythesea.com. Try to plan to have dinner there. the rooms, the views, infinity pool, the food is amazing. You can also drive up and/or do some walking or hiking up Mt.Battie which is right there.

While in Portland I highly recommend this place right on the harbor for breakfast;http://portholemaine.com. It is quite an experience and the breakfast was amazing.

I would give some thought to whether you want to be spending that much time( 3 nights in Jackson) in the mountains vs. the coast. Jackson is a great little town with covered bridges and all, but there is also so much to enjoy just doing the coast trip. Personally I would skip Lake Winnepesaukee.

Not knowing how adventurous you are, you could save about 100 miles and instead of going to Jackson area you could go to Millinocket and Baxter State Park in ME. The park is unspoiled wild forests, mountain and lakes. You can see bears and moose.Mt. Katahdin is a sight to see.
You can always do some white water rafting on the Penobscot River; check outhttp://www.northernoutdoors.com/site/rafting/penobscot-river.html.

When going to Jackson you can get caught up in a lot of tourists in North Conway, tram rides, etc. If you like this then its not an issue; just wanted to offer a less congested alternative.
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Apr 1st, 2012, 11:03 PM
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Thanks for the suggestions. We don't mind the driving, but would like to avoid crowds, if possible, especially considering that much of our trip will be during the week of the 4th of July. My tentative itinerary already has 6 nights along the coast (two in Portland and four in Southwest Harbor). I thought Jackson might be a good base from which to see the White Mountains and environs, but am open to other suggestions. I was trying to minimize the number of places where we stay, but could split the three nights I had in mind for Jackson into two locations if that makes more sense. I've done some more reading about N.H. Some of the places that sound nice to visit (and possibly to stay) are Bretton Woods, Franconia, Lincoln, Squam Lake, and Wolfeboro.

Or might it be better to spend a night in Camden and an extra night in Southwest Harbor and skip N.H.?

(We live in Southern California, near the beach, although we hardly ever go to the beach, so being along a coast per se is not high priority. We love mountains and their flora and fauna.)

I look forward to your feeback. Thanks.
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Apr 2nd, 2012, 03:24 AM
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Want to alter your schedule once again?
http://www.thefells.org/stories/storyReader$267

This is on my bucket list -located in the Lake Sunapee area rather than Lake Winnipesaukee. The gardens tour is June 30/July 1. I try to go on at least one gardens tour every summer. Went on Camden's in 2010. The one in New Castle NH is June 24 but that's before you get here (New Castle is next to Portsmouth) The private gardens on tours usually change from year to year. It's a fun way to see local flora and private backyards. Last year the one in Guilford NH area had a house or two with fabulous views overlooking Lake W. You're coming too late for the lupine festivals in Maine and NH. Wolfboro is a lovely town on Lake W, not too far from the Squam Lakes area.
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Apr 2nd, 2012, 08:09 AM
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If you go to the Schoodic Pennisula, check out Winter Harbor - just a few miles from Corea. Winter Harbor has more services - restaurant, coffe shop, 5 and 10, art galleries, etc. And you might want to check out Grindstone Neck golf course. Almost every hole is a water view.

To get to the Pennisula, you can either drive all the way around from Bar Harbor through Ellsworth and up Rt.1 or take the ferry and rely on the free bus. We've always driven.
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Apr 2nd, 2012, 10:08 AM
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I supppose we could reverse the order of our stops -- go clockwise (N.H. before Acadia area) instead of counter-clockwise. I'll give it some thought.
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Apr 7th, 2012, 05:07 PM
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I am now planning on having the trip be June 28-July 6 (a day later on either end than first planned) and on spending 3 (instead of the original plan of 2) nights in Portland, still 4 in Southwest Harbor, and 2 (instead of 3) nights somewhere near the White Mountains. (One of the reasons for adding the extra night in Portland is that I would like to take the guided tour at the Boothbay Botanical Gardens, and those are only offered on Thursdays and Saturdays.)

I am trying to figure out where to stay those last two nights. We are interested in seeing the White Mountains and some of the other natural attractions in the area. A friend recommmended that we try to go to Vermont, but I don't know if we'll have time for that. Juldie raised some concerns about my plan to stay in Jackson. I would like, if possible, to stay in the same place both nights, but am willing to give up on that idea if it doesn't make much sense. The day that we go to the White Mountains Area, we would begin the day in Southwest Harbor and have the whole day to get to our destination. On our last day we would go from whatever that destination is back to Portland and would need to be in Portland by about 1 pm to return our rental car.

I look forward to your suggestions. Thanks.
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Apr 7th, 2012, 07:41 PM
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I'm not sure about your budget, and forgive me if you mentioned it...I couldn't find any reference. We just made reservations for a stay in the fall at Notchland Inn. It's in a place called Hart's Location right smack in the White Mountains.

We plan to go to the top of White Mountain, most likely by car for more flexibility. We also hope to check out Jackson while there. On the drive to Boston, we hope to stop at Castle in the Clouds near Lake Winnepesaukee. I guess it depends on what you are interested in.
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Apr 8th, 2012, 02:46 AM
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I just remembered that we once visited friends in Wolfboro for 4th of July fireworks over Lake Winnipesaukee. We sat on the lawn behind the academy.

I think there are more tourist attractions along the I93/rt 3 corridor but it doesn't really matter. It's not a long drive to get to places. Wolfboro is only a little more than an hour from Portland (or so my friend claims).

What's nice about VT is the rolling farmland on the western side esp along Lake Champlain. Most of the state did not have massive development in the past 50 years like much of New England. There's not a long of chain stores and strip malls except in the larger cities.
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Apr 8th, 2012, 10:13 AM
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June probably has a bit more affordable availability than July. So I think on the 26th I would take advantage of the daylight hours on arrival and get right up to the Acadia area. It's 6pm but don't forget it's only 3pm LA time.

Portland I would save for the 3rd and 4th to be nearer your departure airport and also because those nights might be much more crowded than the June nights in your coastal cities. On the coast there will be a huge influx on the weekend before the 4th and if at all possible I would try to beat that by 3-4days.
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