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Choice of route from Portsmouth, NH to Albany, NY?

Choice of route from Portsmouth, NH to Albany, NY?

Old May 12th, 2008, 04:11 PM
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Choice of route from Portsmouth, NH to Albany, NY?

Looking at the maps, I see two options:
1. 495 to I-90 (Mass Pike)
or
2. 101 to 9 (across S. NH and VT) to 7

According to Google maps, #2 is 30 miles shorter, but 30 minutes longer. Besides the mountains of southern VT, are there any interesting stops along the way? Or should I just take the big roads of #1?
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Old May 12th, 2008, 08:53 PM
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#2 will probably be more than 30 minutes longer. I wonder whether Google takes traffic signals into consideration? Or, just distance and speed limits. This would be a much more interesting drive than interstate highways all the way. But, if you would be frustrated by driving through a LOT of small towns with 30mph speed limits, traffic signals, stop signs, all along the way, #1 is your best bet.

In some places, along #2, those routes can be a challenge to follow. Sometimes there's a sharp left or right, especially when going through/around towns, so if you continue on and miss the sign, you could think you're still on that route for a very long time before you realize you're not. You really have to pay attention.

There is definitely some stunning scenery along #2. Especially the Hogback overlook about 16 miles west of Brattleboro on Route 9 in Vermont. And, in between towns, with higher speed limits, driving is a pleasure (if you appreciate that sort of thing) up and down grades, winding roads, etc.
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Old May 13th, 2008, 03:59 AM
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The mapping programs always suggest Rt 101 from Portsmouth. I drove it yesterday from Manchester to Rt 95. Right now it is pretty with the colors of spring but basically I don't care for this road at all. It's pretty boring/limited access hwy. For interest, I prefer Rt 16 to Rt 4 to Concord and then Rt 89 to 202 and Rt 9 to Keene. There's a large gas station in NH just before crossing the bridge to VT that makes a good rest stop This route however would be even slower than choice #2. My husband likes to stop at Hemmings Motors near Bennington which has a small display of antique cars. If I were traveling Rt 101 I like to stop in Peterborough. Nice diner. Great bookstore. Artsy town. The quiet SW corner of NH is charming.
We really dislike travel on Rt 495 and I-90. There can be serious slowdowns on Rt 495 depending on time of day, construction or accidents. I-90 is just plain monotomous. Choices for food and rest stops are generally limited to chains. If you wanted to stop for a great ice cream cone, browse used books, or simply have a prettier ride, go with #2. BTW friends who live along Rt 495 try to avoid commuting hours. In the morning traffic always seems to crawl around Marlborough MA even when it's after 9am. I wouldn't trust the timing for #1 unless it was mid-day travel.
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Old May 13th, 2008, 05:42 AM
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Agree with both of the above posters...#2 is probably a little more than 30 minutes longer, but definitely more interesting. I90 is quite dull, except for some pretty scenery in the Berkshires.

495 does indeed get pretty nasty during commuting hours. I would add not only Marlboro area, but even worse up around route 3 in the Chelmsford/Lowell area. Take it from someone who has commuted on that road for a long time. If your trip is on a weekday, take the longer more scenic route. If its a weekend day, consider the faster route particularly if your time at your destination is short.

If you do take the highway trip, I think it cuts some time of to take I290 from 495 to the Pike. Yes, it goes through downtown Worcester, but usually there is not too much traffic, and it will slice off a few more minutes.
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Old May 13th, 2008, 05:54 AM
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What about Rt 2 across MA?

Best of both worlds: Highway driving, not many stoplights except a couple in the eastern end, great scenery.

Worst of both worlds: no shops or towns to drive through, somewhat slower than the Mass Pike.
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Old May 13th, 2008, 07:37 AM
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I live just south of Portsmouth. As china-cat mentioned above,we would take 495S to 290W to 90W. Using 290 saves mileage and helps avoid the traffic jam that can sometimes develop on the ramps between 495 and 90. Not scenic but pretty direct.

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Old May 13th, 2008, 10:00 AM
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We also take 495S to 290W to 90W. There are some terrific places to stop in Worcester, just off the highway, for lunch.

Another of our favorite breakfast/brunch/lunch spots "on the road", though, is the Cafe at Noone Falls in Peterborough, NH. They're open 8:30-4 Monday thru Saturday.

For sure, there could be "serious slowdowns" on the interstate highways, depending on the time of day, but the low speed limits and traffic signals on the "scenic route" can be just as annoying. And, traveling through one small town after another, you have to be careful of speed traps.
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Old May 15th, 2008, 02:27 AM
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Thanks all.
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Old May 15th, 2008, 07:52 AM
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Donna: the cafe at Noone Falls closed quite some time ago; there's a new restaurant in what used to be the Boiler House; it's Lee-Mt. Fugi, a great Chinese and Japanese restaurant (the shushi is excellent). there are now many great places to eat in the Peterborough area: Fishtales for casual soup and sandwich and great grocery; Pearl, fabulous fresh fish, meat, and vegetables, all prepared with an Asian flare; Alymer's Grill in Jaffrey (yes, Jaffrey), Intermezzo in what used to be Latacarta and Gatto's.
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