Boston to Maine- August 22-29th

Jun 25th, 2015, 01:03 PM
  #1  
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Boston to Maine- August 22-29th

I am flying into Boston on August 22nd and plan to spend the day/night there and head towards Maine the next day. I've received several recommendations on where to go, but I cannot narrow it down. Some of these places would just be stops and others would involve an overnight stay or 2. Out of these destinations which one are a must. I plan to head back to Boston on August 28th to have time there on the 28th and 29th.
*Portsmouth, NH
*Ogunquit, ME
*Kennebunkport
*Queen Elizabeth
*Portland
*Freeport
*Boothbay Harbor
*Bar Harbor

Which places would you stop in? Which would you skip? Which would you visit in the amount of time I have?

Any information is GREATLY appreciated!!
mhuds is offline  
Jun 25th, 2015, 02:10 PM
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I would suggest taking an Amtrak Downeaster train (several per day) to Portland or Freeport from Boston North station.
Rent your car in Maine and then take the train back to Boston. The ride is about 2.5 hours from Boston North to Portland.
tomfuller is offline  
Jun 25th, 2015, 02:19 PM
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It depends on your interests. For example, if you're into hiking, national parks, and natural scenery, Bar Harbor and Acadia would be a must. If your interests lean more toward the food scene, shopping, cute towns, etc, I probably wouldn't go all the way to Bar Harbor - there's plenty of that closer to Boston.

From what I saw, Freeport is basically a giant outlet center. I'd skip it unless you want to stop at LL Bean or spend your time bargain hunting. Boothbay Harbor is a fun town and worked well for us to base - we visited Pemaquid Point, Wiscasset and Freeport from there (and Camden, en route from Acadia).

Camden would be a must for a lot of people but isn't on your list.
jent103 is offline  
Jun 25th, 2015, 02:20 PM
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We don't know if you're looking for beach or rocky coast, an outdoorsy vacation with hiking etc, a foodie tour or what. And budget or luxury (budget is going to be difficult along the coast of Maine in August).

http://www.fodors.com/search/results...ch=Coast+Maine
clarkgriswold is offline  
Jun 25th, 2015, 02:21 PM
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Be warned, tom fuller, bless his heart, has a bit of an obsession with rail travel and the drive from Boston to Portland is about the same without the hassle of getting and meeting a scheduled train on both ends.

It's beneficial to travel north on Sunday rather then Saturday, but there will still be weekend daytripper traffic.

I am very familiar with Ogunquit and Kennebunkport, and hugging the coastal roads is the best way to get our of bottleneck traffic.

Boothbay is charming, but can be a bitch to get to.
Inakauaidavidababy is offline  
Jun 25th, 2015, 04:20 PM
  #6  
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Thanks everyone for your input! This is all very helpful. We are kind of looking to do a mix of things. We definitely are into good restaurants/delicious meals and would like to do some outdoorsy activities. I wouldn't mind a little shopping, but my husband won't want to do much of that. We aren't looking to stay at high end places, but we aren't on a tight budget either.

I haven't heard much about Camden, is this a place I should go to? If you had to pick 3-4 places based off of the things I mentioned above where would you go? I want to make sure we enjoy our time there and don't spend too much of it in the car.

Thanks again!!
mhuds is offline  
Jun 26th, 2015, 02:20 AM
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Camden is one of the most beautiful coastal towns in Maine. There are several windjammers based there. You can do a little bit of shopping but it's more upscale than t-shirts. I always recommend the auto road up Mt Battie. It's a great place for a picnic. Bring binoculars. The view is great. You can watch boats coming along the coast. If you like wine, the Cellar Door Winery's original place in Lincolnville is a nice drive, not far off Rt 1. They have a store on Rt 1 for wine tasting but it lacks the scenery.

From your list:
*Portsmouth, NH - great town for walking, interesting boat trips, Strawbery Banke History Area.
*Ogunquit, ME
*Kennebunkport - Southern Maine is not our favorite because it's too crowded and congested. So unless you want sandy beaches, I would skip these two.
*Queen Elizabeth - this should be Cape Elizabeth, south of Portland. Good for a lunch stop at Fort Williams Park where Portland Light is located. There's the Bite Into Maine Food Truck offering five kinds of lobster rolls. Very nice view of Casco Bay.
*Portland - great foodie town. If you didn't take a boat cruise in Portsmouth, you can do the mailboat cruise of Casco Bay. Shop Old Port Area, lots of interesting shops plus great food all in the same area. At least get the ice cream sampler from MDI Ice Cream. And whoopie pies from Two Fat Cats Bakery (they have a parking lot). You can do a foodie tour but it wasn't my favorite.
*Freeport - we always bypass
*Boothbay Harbor - We like nearby Wiscasset better. Parking is scarce in Boothbay but you can also do some nice boat rides. It's nice to do a drive around. Maine Coastal Gardens gets raves.
*Bar Harbor - haven't been to in years but are about to head to nearby Stonington for a long weekend. Probably best place for hiking and biking but the additional miles to get there might not be worth it to you.

If you like short, casual hikes and rural scenery, we like the Harpswells, east of Brunswick. Several great lobster places. If you get the conservation map, you can find some nice places for hikes. Giant Steps isn't as grand as the Marginal Way in Ogunquit but you might not see any other people, either. There is a secluded beach on the list but the unmaintained road to reach it might be too much for a rental car if it has low clearance. Brunswick is a college town but inland. It's south of Bath where the Maritime Museum is located. We have used Bath as a base but the cottage dh booked was on a busy road. Clean but too tiny bathroom. Bath is a busy blue collar town (Bath Iron Works) with a great 4th of July/Heritage Days Celebration.

Rockland was left off your list but it is home to the Farnsworth Art Museum and close to Owl's Head Transportation Museum which is near the easy hike to Owl's Head Light and our favorite lobster shack at Waterman's Beach. Nice winery.

Brunswick to Lincolnville via rt 1 is slightly more than an hour. If you pick a base anywhere along this, you can do a lot of sightseeing to some great places. Once you get north of Lincolnville, things get a little sparse and it's a long drive to Bar Harbor. If you aren't going to get back to Maine, Bar Harbor is probably worth the drive. Keep in mind that we usually spend a week in the mid-coast area and take our time. If you want a great sea kayaking experience, I would get recommendations for that and choose that as my base area.
dfrostnh is online now  
Jun 26th, 2015, 02:46 AM
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Based on your description, Portland as a base. You can do lighthouse viewing or other day trips, boat tour, an OK art museum, lots of restaurants and cute non-chain shops. About 2 hours from Boston so you are not driving forever since you only have a few days.
gail is offline  
Jun 26th, 2015, 04:37 AM
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I completely agree with defrostnh, though I might not go north of Rockland-Rockport-Camden. I think Bar Harbor-Acadia-Mt Desert are a separate trip. I agree with Gail that Portland is a great city and offer the opportunity for excursions into the White Mountains, but there is too much Good Stuff further north for me to base an entire trip there.

Freeport has a lot of outlets but the Harraskeet Inn (and lobsters) is very nice if you are into inn-type accommodation. In any case, you need to firm this up and start working on your lodging soon. You can't rely on finding a vacancy along the road until after Labor Day.
Ackislander is offline  
Jun 26th, 2015, 06:36 AM
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"It's beneficial to travel north on Sunday rather then Saturday".

What's the benefit?

"I am very familiar with Ogunquit and Kennebunkport, and hugging the coastal roads is the best way to get our of bottleneck traffic."

There is no "coastal road" between Ogunquit and Kennebunkport.

"If you had to pick 3-4 places based off of the things I mentioned above where would you go?"

I certainly wouldn't pick 3 or 4 places to overnight for this 5-night visit to Maine. I don't think you can do Bar Harbor justice with a 1 1/2 day stay and since you don't want to spend a lot of time in the car....I would drive from Boston to Camden, settle in for 3 nights, and take in Mt Battie, Rockland, Owl's Head or Port Clyde, and maybe a lakeside drive. Maybe you could fit in an island ferry boat ride. Then I'd head down to Kennebunkport for 2 nights (Fontenay Terrace Motel comes to mind) visiting Ogunquit early on day 3 for breakfast and a walk along the beach. Luckily for you the last week of August, during the week, is not nearly as "congested" as mid-summer weekends are. You could make it to Portsmouth for a late lunch and a stroll if you don't mind arriving into Boston during the busier traffic hours after 4pm.
clarkgriswold is offline  
Jun 26th, 2015, 06:49 AM
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I agree with clarkgriswold's info and plan. Though I most love Acadia/Bar Harbor, it probably doesn't work for this trip.
elberko is offline  
Jun 26th, 2015, 07:20 AM
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traveling north on sunday means you aren't in all the traffic going south at the end of the weekend. Not sure how congested it still gets at toll booths on I95 but I93 in NH can get backed up.

Traffic northbound on Friday afternoons and evenings can be very heavy because it's vacationers plus commuters.
dfrostnh is online now  
Jun 26th, 2015, 07:22 AM
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"traveling north on sunday means you aren't in all the traffic going south at the end of the weekend."

Huh? Traveling north on a sunday means you aren't going south at all.
clarkgriswold is offline  
Jun 26th, 2015, 02:13 PM
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at most you have 6 days so that is limiting, and really only 4 with back and forth travel with stops along the way.

be forewarned that many places have a 2 or 3 day limit for lodging.

my highlights would be the Portsmouth/kittery/York area. a meal at Chauncey creek in kittery is unique---very limited parking--try lunch..

York/Ogunquit is another good combo... barnicale billy's for lobster or MC's. both out on the point.. again parking issues.

Portland would be as far north as I would go... Hilton garden inn is in the middle of things... the mail boat ride (10AM I think) is fab---bring a lunch...
rhkkmk is offline  
Jun 27th, 2015, 05:22 AM
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@clarkgriswold--Since you seem to need more specifics to get it............in good weather, folks from Boston head north on rt 95 on Saturday and head home on Sunday. There is a toll near Hampton NH and the booths can back up, almost stopped, for miles on a nice beach Saturday, while cars roast in the sun, despite ac. There is another toll after the Ogunquit exit which can also back up. On Sunday, the traffic going back in the Boston direction can also be brutal, especially stopping at those two toll points. It can double the trip time. That's the fun posters are recommending the OP avoid. Got it now?

OP--my schedule suggestion: Stop to look at Newburyport and Plum Island, spend part of the day looking around Portsmouth and maybe taking a boat ride out to the islands, and spend the night, or a couple, in Ogunquit, via Nubble light in York. The little coastal road from York to Ogunquit is pretty. After Ogunquit, go on through Kennebunkport and overnight in Portland for a couple of nights.
SambaChula is offline  
Jun 27th, 2015, 08:43 AM
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Are you a bit cranky clark? Yes there are ways to hug the coast to avoid traffic jams between York and Kennebunkport - or at least get thru in a more timely fashion when the main roads back up.
Inakauaidavidababy is offline  
Jun 27th, 2015, 11:14 AM
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"That's the fun posters are recommending the OP avoid. Got it now?"

What I don't get is why we are wasting time discussing something that is not in the OPs plans to begin with. She's driving north on a SUNDAY, got it?

"Between York and Kennebunkport"

You said Ogunquit and Kennebunkport, and like I said, there is no coast-hugging that will avoid any "traffic jams" between the two. Zero. Zilch. Although I guess you are technically correct that "there are ways". You could take a kayak I suppose.
clarkgriswold is offline  
Jun 28th, 2015, 06:53 AM
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OK Clark, but I have about 40 years of driving in the area on and off season, and we hug the coast to avoid areas of congestion on Rt 1. Why do you need to argue this fact with me?
Inakauaidavidababy is offline  
Jun 28th, 2015, 08:27 AM
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and for fear of being reprimanded, Rt 9 as well.
Inakauaidavidababy is offline  
Jun 28th, 2015, 09:16 AM
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"we hug the coast to avoid areas of congestion on Rt 1. Why do you need to argue this fact with me?"

that's not the "fact" that I pointed out, and I was not arguing with you I was correcting you. The fact that you keep changing your "fact" means you are correcting yourself, so why the problem with me correcting you?

You were sending newcomers on a wild goose chase by implying that one can "hug the coast" and make a quick getaway. Especially "between Ogunquit and Kennebunkport". If the OP would have tried to do that she would have met with dead-ends and frustration, don't you agree? If not, then where in Ogunquit would you propose that she started hugging the coast?
clarkgriswold is offline  

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