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Best Route White Mountains, New Hampshire to Kennebunkport

Best Route White Mountains, New Hampshire to Kennebunkport

Aug 4th, 2009, 02:20 PM
  #1  
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Best Route White Mountains, New Hampshire to Kennebunkport

At the end of next week, my daughters and I will be in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, specifically in Whitefield. We are there to see a couple of shows at the Weathervane Theatre where my DD's friend is playing the lead. After we leave Whitefield, we are driving to Kennebunkport. I have been looking at maps and reading posts on this forum so am aware that it's not as easy to drive from West to East through this area as it is to go North/South.

We will have already done sightseeing in the White Mountains and are leaving after a matinee show to drive to Maine, probably around 5pm. So we will just be driving pretty much straight through. We do like scenic routes and actually love driving on two lane roads. Looking at Google Map, there are many routes but the one that seems best to me is to take Highway 16 through New Hampshire and then Highway 109/9 to the coast of Maine. There are other routes listed to and the difference in time is only about 15 minutes. I was also wondering whether it would make more sense to Take I93 south to Concord and then east into Maine on US-4, connecting with I95.

So if anyone has suggestions on the easiest or maybe the most scenic route, I would appreciate your input. We are excited about this trip as we have never been to this part of the US.
paula1470 is offline  
Aug 5th, 2009, 02:40 AM
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If it's a Friday, southbound I93 should be ok. If it's Sunday, expect traffic congestion. We saw very slow moving traffic north of Concord that looked backed up past exit 17 around 5pm. (concord exit 15 connects to rt 393 to exit 4). If there is heavy traffic you can get off Rt 93S at exit 20 going south on Rt 3 thru towns of Tilton, Franklin, Boscawen. In Boscawen to continue to avoid Rt 93, head for Rt 93 but ignore on ramp, take right onto Mountain Rd (I forget Rt #). This parallels 93. Ignore on ramp for exit 16, go past gas station take left onto Portsmouth St. This goes thru a residential/rural area and will bring you to Rt 393 where you can continue east to Rt 4. If you need a place to eat there are chains (boo) at exit 20 where outlet mall is located but a tiny Thai place behind the big stores that gets get reports on Chowhound. But further south on Rt 3 in downtown Franklin Asian Delight is next to the city hall/opera house (mostly Thai). Our vote for best inland NH lobster roll is the Dipsy Doodle in Northfield (a few miles from Rt 3/Tilton). There is southern style bbq at The Smoke Shack in Boscawen on Rt 3. Concord offers many choices. Not much at all on Rt 4 for restaurants until you get close to Portsmouth. I'm partial to Rt 4/16 approach to Portsmouth. Lovely drive past Durham to Dover Pt and then over the bridges over Great Bay before you get to Rt 95.
Haven't been on the west/east route from the mountains often enough to be familiar with it but it is probably a lot shorter. Friends in Wolfboro and Freedom NH areas usually head to Portland ME for shopping since from their part of the state to Portland is about an hour.
dfrostnh is offline  
Aug 5th, 2009, 02:54 AM
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If it were me I'd just head down 302 to the Maine Turnpike and then head south to K'port. 302 passes some nice lakes in Maine and you could stop in Naples for something to eat. Unless its a weekend day the traffic shouldn't be too bad.
cindyj is offline  
Aug 5th, 2009, 08:45 AM
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Thanks for your replies. Yes it will be a Sunday. Honestly coming from Southern California with it's heavy traffic, I never even thought about traffic in New Hampshire and Maine. But it makes sense because people will be coming back from weekend trips.

If I93 gets traffic on Sunday, then maybe we should avoid it. dfrost-Thanks for the details on how to get off the Interstate. I will print that out and take it with me in case we decide to go that way.

Cindyj-Just a question or two. Why would we take 302 into Portland and then head south? Is there a reason to not stay on 16 and end up in the Portsmouth area? I had looked at Highway 302 because originally we had though about going to Portland but decided on someplace a little further south. Is 16 that bad through that area?

Again, thanks for all the help.
paula1470 is offline  
Aug 5th, 2009, 10:33 AM
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Best route to K'bunkport is the Rt 16.For a change take The rt 153 at downtown Conway.Less traffic than Rt 16.After passing The Poor Peoples Pub in Sanbornville, NH take the Rt 109 To Maine at the junction of Rt 99 (at the Sanford Airport)to Rt 9 K'bunk,(High St) to Rt.1 north to Rt35 to K"bunkport.
xxx30 is offline  
Aug 5th, 2009, 10:48 AM
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Thanks xxx30. Now you know why it's so hard to decide. Lots of different routes. I appreciate all the help and the heads up about Sunday traffic. Will traffic be less if we go on Saturday at 5pm?
paula1470 is offline  
Aug 5th, 2009, 11:07 AM
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Well, if you're looking at a correct map, K'port is SOUTH of Portland and Conway is northwest of Portland. I am not that familiar with the more southern routes that others describe, but just looking at the map this is more direct and includes better roads.
cindyj is offline  
Aug 5th, 2009, 12:06 PM
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ciny-You are right. It just seemed to me if you take 16, you are heading southeast through New Hampshire into Maine so it would be less miles but the roads do seem more rural. That's why I was asking which way might be a little faster. Of course, I am never against going the scenic route if it's worth it. 302 does look like a scenic road and I had seen some pictures of the lakes along the way.
paula1470 is offline  
Aug 5th, 2009, 01:25 PM
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I like your original plan, it's a nice scenic drive through some lovely lake regions. Take 302 to 16 to 109, stop and eat in Acton at Ted's Fried Clams (also serving Richardson's Ice Cream from Massachusetts, try the Totally Turtle Pecan) ...then continue on 109 until you hit 99 towards Kennebunk, then follow the signs for 35 down to Kennebunkport. It will be quite a nice sunset arrival to the coast.
joesorce is offline  
Aug 5th, 2009, 04:45 PM
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Paula, where are you staying in Kennebunkport? We've been going there at least every other year or more, for 30 years. It's my favorite place to visit when we tour the NE States. We've been on all the roads, switch around for a variety.

How long will you be in Kennebunkport, and do you have restaurant suggestions?
MBnancy is offline  
Aug 5th, 2009, 08:47 PM
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MBNancy-I know it's crazy but we are only going to be in Kennebunkport one night. We are actually staying in Cape Porpoise at the Cape Porpoise Motel. This trip was originally going to be just NYC but then my DD's friend got some parts in summer theater in New Hampshire. So we added a couple of days there and then Boston before going to NYC. We were going to skip Maine but just don't know when we will get back that way. So I figured one day was better than none. Hopefully this will give us a good taste of the area so that we can make a longer trip soon.

joesorce-Thanks for your recommendations. We probably want to wait and eat when we get to Kennebunkport-both of my daughters are crazy about lobster. Looks like places stay open late enough for that. However we might have to stop for the ice cream. Totally Turtle Pecan sounds amazing...
I would like any recommendations for lobster. I guess Nunans Lobster is in Cape Porpoise. Are there other better places?

We are excited to see this part of the country for the first time.
paula1470 is offline  
Aug 5th, 2009, 11:06 PM
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Paula, do not leave ME without a Lobster Roll for lunch. It's lobster meat in a toasted piece of bread, shaped like a hot dog bun served with melted butter, or mayo and celery mixture. On the sides are fries, cole slaw, chips, etc. Each place does it different. Even if you are going somewhere for dinner to have Lobster again, just go with it. We've had them all over town but a couple of our favorites are:

Here is a photo of a lobster roll from Mabel's Lobster Claw, a favorite of Rachael Ray and George Bush. They have some tables outside, it's small and casual.

http://www.roadfood.com/Restaurant/R...s-lobster-claw

We also like Alisson's Restaurant, right in Dock Square Kennebunkport, for lunch or dinner.

http://www.alissons.com/

Besides ice cream, try blueberry or raspberry pie ala mode, cobblers, muffins, scones, anything with fresh local grown ingredients. You can diet when you get home.
MBnancy is offline  
Aug 6th, 2009, 07:40 AM
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MBNancy-You are right about dieting when I get home. I had heard about Lobster Rolls but had no idea what they were. Sounds yummy. Let me know if you think Nunan's is OK. I am picking that mostly because it's so close to our hotel but can obviously go somewhere else.
paula1470 is offline  
Aug 7th, 2009, 06:25 PM
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I've heard of Nunan's but have not had lobster there yet. Usually stay around "downtown" Kennebunkport, where there are lots of lobster places around the water.

Be sure to take Ocean Ave. (from Dock Square in town) around to George's Bush Compound. The drive around the water is great, and you get to check out the homes and old hotels along the short drive.
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