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Boston, Cape Cod, Maine, Vermont and Berkshires

Boston, Cape Cod, Maine, Vermont and Berkshires

Feb 9th, 2019, 11:32 AM
  #21  
 
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In Brewster you can walk out on the beach for miles on the sand flats at low tide. Just make sure you are back before the tide comes in. Check a tide chart. They should know at the inn.

The Cape Cod Museum of Natural History has some interesting programs and trails in Brewster. And the Audubon sanctuary in Wellfleet does also. You can check these out on line. As well as the Cape Cod National Seashore. The visitor center is in Eastham but there are beaches and trails all along the outer Cape from Eastham to Provincetown. Check out their offerings on line or pick up a schedule at the visitor center.

The Cape Cod Rail Trail runs through Brewster and there are several places to rent bikes nearby.

We had an excellent meal last night at the Brewster Fish House, where we donít go often because they donít take reservations and are quite small but if you go early you can avoid the wait.
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Feb 9th, 2019, 01:12 PM
  #22  
 
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I'm including some random ideas about things to see in several of the locations you plan to visit. Be sure to check to see whether sites you want to see are open. Some will close in the fall especially after Columbus Day weekend (Columbus Day is October 14 this year so you are probably safe)

In Boston Beacon Hill is a lovely and interesting area and I am sure you will enjoy staying there. In addition to the Freedom Trail I would recommend the Black Heritage Trail which is on the hill. The main indoor site to see is the African American Meeting House
https://www.nps.gov/boaf/planyourvisit/things2do.htm
I have also enjoyed touring the Nichols House museum for a glimpse inside one of the Beacon Hill town houses owned by a prominent Boston family.

I'd recommend spending some time viewing the Shaw memorial opposite the state house in Boston then going to the St. Gaudens Historic site, home of the sculptor, when you are in Vermont.

The Freedom Trail is much more than a walk through the city; it features many sites to visit inside and takes quite a while. You might want to break it up.

In Cambridge, in addition to Harvard Square and the Harvard campus, Harvard has some excellent museums (art, natural history, archeology and ethnology). The Longfellow House National Historic site is also well worth a visit. It is off of Brattle Street which was Tory Row, where many Loyalists had mansions at the time of the American Revolution.

Stay flexible about your itinerary driving over to and around Vermont and the Berkshires since it makes sense to spend some of your time driving to areas where there fall foliage is at peak. There will be updates during your trip. There are many scenic drives on secondary roads. If you want to investigate some cheese and/or beer there are trails featuring both.
VERMONT CHEESE TRAIL ? Vermont Cheese Council

Like dfrost, I would recommend the St. Gaudens site just over the border in New Hampshire. Other good places to visit not far from Grafton would be the Marsh Billings Rockefeller Park, Scott orchard (heirloom apples) to the south in Dummerston, the Calvin Coolidge state historic site in Plymouth Notch

Near Stockbridge area some good places to visit are Naumkeag, the Mount and the Hancock Shaker Village.

On Cape Cod, definitely plan to spend time at the National Sea Shore. There are a number of different areas to visit. Check the ranger programs for special hikes and activities.
An interesting thing to do (and a good way to see seals) is to go to the fishing pier in Chatham when the boats are going in.The Monomoy Island National Wildlife Refuge is nearby and a great place for walking and bird watching.
https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Monomoy/
It sounds as though you are set on going to Martha's Vineyard but personally I would spend the time you have on the Cape.
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Feb 10th, 2019, 12:37 AM
  #23  
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Many thanks Macross and J62 for the info about tolls, so good to have advance warning of this. We will inquire with the car rental company when we book. I understand the tolls are cashless, but is there the option to pay with a credit car, perhaps?
Thanks again.
Lisa
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Feb 10th, 2019, 12:39 AM
  #24  
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Nikki, thanks so much for the Cape Cod info and Brewster in particular. The restaurant is certainly one to make a note of too.
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Feb 10th, 2019, 12:50 AM
  #25  
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Thanks Vttraveler for additional information about Boston. We love exploring cities, so the additional trails are very welcome indeed.
The St Gaudenís Historic Site sounds fascinating, as does Cambridge, the Hancock Shaker Village and your advice about Cape Cod.
I have a real weakness for good cheese, and it does sound like Vermont will be my undoing. I cannot wait. There is so much to see and do, we will barely scratch the surface.
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Feb 10th, 2019, 02:34 AM
  #26  
 
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Originally Posted by uklisa View Post
Thanks Vttraveler for additional information about Boston. We love exploring cities, so the additional trails are very welcome indeed.
The St Gaudenís Historic Site sounds fascinating, as does Cambridge, the Hancock Shaker Village and your advice about Cape Cod.
I have a real weakness for good cheese, and it does sound like Vermont will be my undoing. I cannot wait. There is so much to see and do, we will barely scratch the surface.
If you are interested in the Shakers, Canterbury Shaker Village isn't very far from Concord NH which you will probably have to pass through on your way from Portland to VT. They have very interesting tours and it's a beautiful rural area.
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Feb 10th, 2019, 02:46 AM
  #27  
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That sounds interesting, wish we could stay longer because there is so much to see. However, all this excellent advice helps with the research.
Many thanks again.
Lisa
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Feb 10th, 2019, 02:54 AM
  #28  
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Thanks everyone for the advice on toll roads and transponders. We are looking at car hire now. Frustratingly, adding a transponder isnít offered as an extra in the booking process. Is this something we can only add on when we come to pick up the car please?
Also, sat-nav is standard now with UK car hire but it appears it is in an extra in the US. Certainly, our experience so far and the addition seems pricey. We are looking at compact-economy cars, though, and so that may be a factor? Perhaps it is included as standard in bigger, more expensive cars?
Thanks again for alerting us to this. We had no idea.
Lisa
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Feb 10th, 2019, 05:32 AM
  #29  
 
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I am not sure what route you were planning to take from Grafton to stockbridge, but I would recommend something other than driving on the interstates. There is an alternate route shown if you check google directions that takes you west then south along Rte 22 in New York State.
If you do go via highways 91 and 90, you might consider stopping briefly in Historic Deerfield MA which is very easy to get to off I-91. Even if you don't get a museum pass and go into any of the houses, the main street is lovely. There are many early (for the U.S.) colonial homes
https://www.historic-deerfield.org/
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Feb 10th, 2019, 05:39 AM
  #30  
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Thank you Vttraveler. Iím making notes on suggested routes so we can encounter as much of the charm the region has to offer as we make our way to our next base.
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Feb 10th, 2019, 06:50 AM
  #31  
 
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Agreed that Historic Deerfield makes for a great dayís worth of time. In many ways, itís a microcosm of house historic styles all on one street. If you see it complete, it will take a full day, especially if you include the nearby history museum.
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Feb 10th, 2019, 07:07 AM
  #32  
 
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I would ask rental car about options for the tolls. I was about 30 miles away when I figured out I needed a toll pass.No credit card option as there are no toll booths. I switched my gps to non toll roads and it was great but don't know about the cape as we were riding in a friends car that has a pass. Are there toll roads going there? I know the rental car places charge a fee on top of the toll fee. Ask them if it is a one time fee. I got a convenience fee one time and it was 16 dollars in Delaware on a 1.00 toll fee. If you purchase a toll pass you normally have to register it to the auto.
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Feb 10th, 2019, 07:21 AM
  #33  
 
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I use google maps on my phone for navigation and like the vocal directions. My husband prefers to look at a map first to get a general idea of which way he wants to go. If you like detailed paper maps you can get a DeLorme Atlas and Gazetteer for each state you want to explore. All the roads, including seasonal will be shown. They also show locations of covered bridges, waterfalls, and other interesting things. You can buy them at various gas stations and bookstores in the US. Fold up maps from gas stations are ok but sometimes not detailed enough.
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Feb 10th, 2019, 07:58 AM
  #34  
 
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For navigation you can also download the free WAZE app to your phone or iPad. It gives real time information on routes and will tell you when there are accidents, road hazards, police etc. on your route.
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Feb 10th, 2019, 09:03 AM
  #35  
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Thanks very much Macross, dfrostnh and Emalloy.
We will quiz the car rental company about tolls when we pick up the car.
Thanks also for navigation app info.
I am collecting so much valuable info and insights.
Appreciate all your time and guidance.
Lisa
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Feb 10th, 2019, 12:09 PM
  #36  
 
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The roads on the Cape do not have tolls, nor does the road from Boston to the Cape, except for the tunnel from the airport in Boston, if you are renting a car at the airport.
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Feb 10th, 2019, 12:41 PM
  #37  
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We have had this reply from Alamo:

Great question! Our TollPass Program is our electronic toll collection program which allows our renters to drive through electronic toll lanes and pay tolls electronically, without having to stop and pay cash. In addition, many toll plazas have converted to all electronic tolling and removed the option for travelers to stop and pay cash at toll plazas.

The cost is $3.95 per usage day, not to exceed $19.75 per rental period, plus the amount of each toll. There is no TollPassô service charge on rental days that you donít use a toll road. You will be auto opted-in to this service if you do not rent a device and you drive through any tolls.

Last edited by uklisa; Feb 10th, 2019 at 12:54 PM.
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Feb 10th, 2019, 12:42 PM
  #38  
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Thanks Nikki.
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Feb 10th, 2019, 01:28 PM
  #39  
 
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That is good info from alamo. I could not remember the Cape tolls as I was sitting in the back seat. Good to know as there aren't any back roads. My friend Lauren lives in Springfield and she picked us up in Hartford this last trip. We got the car after the Cape to head to the Adirondacks and Vermont. I will ask for the toll pass next trip but did enjoy those back roads.
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Feb 10th, 2019, 04:10 PM
  #40  
 
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We take a taxi from Boston Logan to Atlantic Ave car rental companies for a less expensive charge. The location is near to interstate highway access.
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