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Boston to Acadia Trip in Sept First Time!

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Aug 26th, 2013, 12:58 PM
  #1
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Boston to Acadia Trip in Sept First Time!

Hi. I am so glad I found this site- so much helpful info and replies. I haven't joined many forums, but have spent time reading some over the years - most aren't nearly as helpful as this one- thanks to all the moderators out there! I have spent weeks researching an upcoming adventure and would like some feedback about current plans.
Flying into Boston early September to avoid the crowds, staying at Lenox (Back Bay) for 3 days, then have to get back to airport somehow (is taxi the best way?) with luggage to get enterprise rental car (half the cost of getting vehicle in town and returning to airport), then driving to Rockport for a few days to explore Salem, Marblehead and Cape Ann areas. Next meeting some friends near Old Sturbridge area for a few days, then heading north to Maine - should we take 90 to 495 to 95 then get off where to see the coast via US 1 before Portland? What should we do around Portland for 2 days, besides maybe the observatory, eastern promenade, Head light, eating lobster, LL Bean for hubby, maybe a boat trip around lighthouses? Then heading north to Acadia, sounds like we should take Rt 1 into Brunswick to Rockland, Camden, Mt. Battie, then around to Acadia? Have reservations at Best Western just outside of Bar Harbor- reasonable rates but hope its as nice as most TA reviews... thinking maybe we should look for another place besides Bar Harbor area to stay for our 3 days here? Many were already booked weeks ago or too expensive, and we aren't B & B people. We like quiet, clean, driving (not big hikers), wildlife, photo ops. Thanks for any help you can offer! Haven't planned a big trip like this in 10 years!
LLTravels is offline  
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Aug 26th, 2013, 02:22 PM
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1 below Portland is not close enough to the coast to see views. Do not get off until farther north, you really mostly need to go down the peninsulas to get views.

From Sturbridge take the Mass pike (90) to 290 to 495. Do get an easy pass to make life on the toll roads nicer and faster. If you do not have one you can get one on line through the Mass DOT site.
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Aug 26th, 2013, 02:58 PM
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Check out BT's while in Sturbridge if you like bbq

http://btsmokehouse.com
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Aug 26th, 2013, 06:42 PM
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That bbque place looks great, can't wait to try it, thanks! Any place else interesting besides the old village around Sturbridge area?
emalloy, thanks for the tips on the roads. Will the rental cars have an option of the easy pass in them? We'll just be in NE for 2 weeks.
Any thought as to which Boston trolley tour is best? We will be limited on how much we can walk each day. Also have been debating if we should get one of those Boston City passes or Go Boston cards- anyone have any tips on this? I added up $ of some of the things we would do and it didn't seem like the passes would save us a lot of $, but maybe a lot of time and aggravation as we wouldn't have to purchase tickets separately at every attraction. Is the aquarium a must-see? Thanks again!!
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Aug 27th, 2013, 01:32 PM
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Since you are in western MA, you have another option. That is to go up I91 to Brattleboro VT and then head to Keene NH. There will be far less traffic. From Keene, you have to take state hwys (speed limit mostly 55) to Concord. Connect with I89 then I93 south to I101 over to Portsmouth and connect with I95. I hate the Mass pike. Check googlemaps to see if there's a big difference in miles and time.

We usually stay on I95 until we get to Brunswick and then take Rt 1. As the other poster said, you won't get any good views except the drive thru Wiscasset and Camden (lots of traffic though) is nice. South of Portland, Rt 1 is lined with stores, restaurants, et. I drove a few miles at 9am on Rt 1 in Wells and it's a Tuesday. Traffic on weekends is awful.

The Old Port area of Portland is fun to explore. You can take a brewery tour. We enjoyed the mailboat cruise in the morning and were back in Portland for lunch.

You might detour down some peninsulas to see some great water views. This really depends. South of Maine there are lovely sand beaches like York but the towns are crowded with people and shops. The further north you go, the quieter it gets. It was kind of fun to go thru some shops in Perkins Cove yesterday but I really prefer finding a good lobster shack with a great view (try Five Islands) but check ahead because some places are open weekends only after Labor Day and close after Columbus Day.
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Aug 27th, 2013, 06:46 PM
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Hmmm...usually the in-city car rentals are much lower because the airport has extra taxes and fees. Are you picking up on Sunday when in-city locations might be closed? I'm showing Hertz , Avis , Budget all at about $400 for two weeks picking up intown and returning to airport. Avis is a few blocks from your hotel and Hertz is about a half mile, I think both might have "hotel pickup service".

The Best Western is fine, look at cromwellharbor.com if you'd like something quiet, yet walkable to town. For a real "downeast" experience, look at www.edgewaterbarharbor.com
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Aug 27th, 2013, 11:48 PM
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Do you have time, on the return to Boston, to meander down route 1 to see Camden etc? Because I don't think it's worth the detour on the way up to Bar Harbor. Brunswick up through Rockland Camden is kinda slow going and not much to see from the road. If you've got a few hours to stop and meander, maybe, but that would put you into BHarbor pretty late.

I'd take 295N up to Augusta and spend an hour at the Maine State Museum. Then take route 3 eastbound and connect with 1 north at Belfast. Lunch at Lori's Café/John's Ice Cream in Liberty, or further east at Youngs Lobster Pound in Belfast or The Angler Café in Searsport.
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Aug 28th, 2013, 04:15 AM
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On this trip you will have far too few tolls to bother renting an EZ pass from the car rental company. They are expensive, and you are on a pleasure trip so time is not critical.

If you are traveling light, by far the easiest way to get to the airport is by T. The Copley station on the Green Line Subway is very close to the Lenox ( great location, by the way) and you change to the Blue Line at Government Center. Cheap, fast. But there are stairs in both stations so if you are not traveling light, you are stuck with a taxi, or one of you could go without luggage to pick up the car, come back for the other
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Aug 28th, 2013, 05:25 AM
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If you decide to take a taxi to pick up the rental car, save yourself a bit of time/aggravation by taxiing directly to the Enterprise office, rather than to the airport itself.
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Sep 3rd, 2013, 05:35 PM
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Thanks everyone for the tips! Will have to do the taxi route (great tip to go to Enterprise, not the airport)as we most likely will have too much luggage.
I wanted to stay at the Edgewater in Acadia but they were all booked up weeks ago. Nearby cottages also booked.
When I first called Enterprise and asked if in-town rentals were less than airport (based on past experiences), I was told not necessarily because the airport has more vehicles to rent out, and when he checked the rates, the airport was best rate. The rental rates were double to pick up in-town and drop at airport for Hertz and Enterprise! Since I originally booked, the rates have gone from over $800 for an SUV 11 days to $520, or a full size car for $313. I also have a AAA coupon rate from Hertz for a full size for $265, but I can't get them to answer the phone in Boston as I have a few questions, so not sure I want to go with them. Enterprise does not offer pick up services near our hotel, not sure about Hertz, that was one thing I wanted to ask. Thanks for tip on EZ pass- will pass!
So is it getting cold up there in Maine? Long pants and sweater weather? See you soon!!
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Sep 3rd, 2013, 08:22 PM
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you will want long pants and light sweaters in the evenings for sure. It gets breezy and chilly at night. Hard to say about the daytime. Might be warmer, might not. As always, layers is the answer. and some rain gear. it might be wet.
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Sep 3rd, 2013, 08:41 PM
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According to the Hertz website, the Sheraton Boston Hotel Hertz office has pickup service. Or, it's less than a half mile from your hotel, you could walk over to pick up the car then return to the Lenox to fetch your bags.

The website is not working right now so I cannot check the rates. 763841 is another Hertz discount code to use if you are renting with an American Express card, might be better than the AAA rate.

Avis on Clarendon is also very close to your hotel. Don't forget when booking the car to check the rates returning to the airport not back into the city.
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Sep 4th, 2013, 06:12 AM
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In Bar Harbor we like:

- Havana (a Cuban restaurant) - one of our favorites.
- Café This Way - love their breakfast, but other meals good too
- Jordan Pond House - you have to have a popover, afternoon tea kind of place right in the park - very flat, pretty nature walk around the pond (maybe 4 miles - takes a little over an hour)
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