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Coastal New England Advice Needed

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May 3rd, 2007, 08:12 PM
  #1
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Coastal New England Advice Needed

Hi there!

My husband and I are heading to New England at the end of July 2007. From reading other posts, I realize this is probably not the ideal time to go with tourist season, but my brother-in-law is having a baby in June and this is the only time we can get away.

We're going to be be flying into Providence, RI on July 24 (a Tuesday) and renting a car. Based on suggestions from friends and family, I have come up with the following itinerary. I want to be sure that it is realistic. I know it's definitely ambitious ;-)

July 24- Arrive Providence, RI

July 25- Drive to Mystic, CT. 1/2 day Mystic Seaport. Drive to Newport, RI. Cliffwalk/One Mansion Tour in afternoon

July 26- Drive to Hyannis, MA in morning. Take ferry to Nantucket. Return late afternoon. Hotel in Hyannis.

July 27- Drive up to Provincetown-- along way stop in Chatham, National Sea Shore. Afternoon, drive down to Plymouth, MA.

July 28- A.M. Plimoth Plantation, P.M. Drive to Boston (leave car outside of Boston? Stay at hotel outside and go in for day?

July 29- A.M. to late afternoon in Boston. Duck Tour of Boston. Drive up to Portsmouth, NH late afternoon.

July 30- Drive along coast from Portsmouth, through Kennebunkport, to Portland.

July 31- Fly to Philadelphia PM.

We already have our flights set into Providence and out of Portland. It's the details in the middle that we don't have finalized. Any suggestions or help would be greatly appreciated. Suggestions for hotels, restaurants, etc. would be great too!

Thanks a million for your advice!
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May 3rd, 2007, 09:09 PM
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sarahevan5:
To me, it is ambitious - it makes me tired reading it

realistic is another thing, but that's also subjective. I'm assuming you've mapquested the distance/times/etc and looked into the parking/timing of things in each town you are talking about? For me personally, there is no time to enjoy anything so it wouldn't work for me - I like to be able to roam in a town and not have to keep checking my watch - or find something off the beaten path - or just relax and not be so bound to a schedule every minute of every day -

I don't like the1/2 day here, 1/2 day there itineraries, but that's me.

you are barely seeing any of each area, and that is ok if that is what appeals to you - I like to see more of an area which is why the "if it's tuesday this must be Belgium" itineraries have never worked for me-

plus, take into account summer traffic, especially on weekends

here are my suggestions:

July 24- Arrive Providence, RI
* are you planning to do anything in Providence? If not, why not drive direct to Mystic when you arrive - what time do you arrive? Time enough to drive the hour to Mystic - doe s it give you anytime to see some of Mystic at night and finish it off in the morning first thing? Not that Providence doesn't have a few nice areas to walk, the fire barges at night, but I would maybe think of going straight to Mystic unless you have a reason in Providence.

July 25- Drive to Mystic, CT. 1/2 day Mystic Seaport. Drive to Newport, RI. Cliffwalk/One Mansion Tour in afternoon

(this seems a shame to me - Newport has sooo much to offer. If I had to choose between Mystic and Newport, I would take Newport - and I'd want at least one full day there - is all that appeals to you one mansion and taking a walk on the Cliff Walk? Have you looked at the ten mile drive on www.oceandrivenewport.com ? I'd rather see you do that than the cliff walk - not that the cliff walk isn't nice, but it's a walk, along the shore, with the water on one side and the back lawns of the mansions on the other - it's lovely, but it wouldn't be the one thing I would do in Newport -

I'd suggest the above mentioned drive, which shows you Bellevue Ave, the rocky coast, great views, - if you haven't looked at the web site, I think you should take a look at it -

You also leave no time to even walk the wharf area or see the views from say Castle Hill,

But yes, you could see Mystic from 9am to noon, grab some lunch, leave at one, arrive in Newport at 2, see a mansion before closing, walk the Cliffwalk and have some hours before dark - it would just be way too tight a schedule for me personally

July 26- Drive to Hyannis, MA in morning. Take ferry to Nantucket. Return late afternoon. Hotel in Hyannis.

* Ok, so you are going to wake up in Newport, drive the hour or so to Hyannis - park your car and get on which Fast Ferry - the 8am or the 11am ? For discussion sake, let's say the 11 (meaning I'd leave from Newport by 9am) - arrive Nantucket at noon, and take the 6pm Fast Ferry back? or the 8:30pm?

So you would have time in Nantucket for lunch, to walk Main St and some side streets, do the museum and/or structure your day on the bus tour/lighthouse tour but choose how to spend your time beforehand. Back to Hyannis to sleep - - so you need to ask for a late check in, or arrive earlier in the morning wherever you are staying and take care of it then

July 27- Drive up to Provincetown-- along way stop in Chatham, National Sea Shore. Afternoon, drive down to Plymouth, MA.

Now it's a Friday and traffic picks up. You are going to drive the 1 hr 30 min or so to Provincetown and then the two hours to Plymouth...

July 28- A.M. Plimoth Plantation, P.M. Drive to Boston (leave car outside of Boston? Stay at hotel outside and go in for day?
*To me it doesn't make sense to leave your car outside of Boston - to park in a lot and go in w/ your luggage and then have to go back out to get it to head to Portsmouth, I'd rather park it in Boston - or stay in a hotel just outside of Boston that has shuttle service or is on/near the T

July 29- A.M. to late afternoon in Boston. Duck Tour of Boston. Drive up to Portsmouth, NH late afternoon.

July 30- Drive along coast from Portsmouth, through Kennebunkport, to Portland.

July 31- Fly to Philadelphia PM.

*** So yes, I think it's too much, but that's me.
are you dying to see something in Mystic? Would you skip Nantucke this trip? Is there something there you must see? Don't get me wrong, I love Nantucket - but what is it you want to do there?
are you going to do a bus tour of the island or lighthouses? or take the bus yourself? or are you only going to walk Main St and the boat basin/wharf area, in which case you can walk the wharfs, harbor and shops in Newport -

Me, I would make some choices and have a more leisurely pace
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May 3rd, 2007, 09:10 PM
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Whew! That is one of the most ambitious itineraries I've have ever, ever seen!

I suppose, if you really feel the urge to do all this, you should positively go for it.

The really good news is that your dates fall on excellent driving days in the directions you are driving... To Hyannis on a Thursday, leaving the Cape on a Friday, heading into Boston on a Saturday, to Portsmouth on a Sunday...

However...

At the end of July, you MAY have difficulty booking only one night in Newport, Hyannis, Plymouth, even Portsmouth. Many, but not all, accommodations will have minimum night stay requirements. And, a one night only on a Saturday in Boston could be very expensive. (Hotwire is currently showing a 4* in Back Bay Copley for $109 that date, and if I were you, I'd GRAB it, immediately. You may be able to determine the hotel on Betterbidding.com, but I wouldn't worry about it for that rate.)

I, personally, think Mystic and Newport are too much for one day. Recommend picking one or the other. Unless you are really interested in the ship building museum in Newport (a "snooze", we thought), Newport is just as nice a seaport village. Accommodations are more reasonably priced in the next town over Middletown.

Nantucket is surely a wonderful destination, and okay for a day trip, but check the ferry schedules. The "slow" ferry ride is 2 hours/15 minutes each way. The "fast" ferry takes only an hour each way, but is pricey.

You need to book your one-night-only stay in Hyannis forthwith.

Rather that drive all the way to Provincetown and back, if what you have in mind is gorgeous ocean scenery, highly recommend the scenic route to Falmouth, Woods Hole, then continue on to Plymouth.

For me, anyway, way more interesting in Plymouth than Plimouth Plantation (again, a "snooze") were the Mayflower II, Plymouth Rock, and (really!) the wax museum (a multi-media presentation of before, during, after, the crossing, very nicely done).

If you're going to Boston just to go on a Duck Tour, it would be essential to book ahead online.

Highly recommend booking your overnights forthwith, starting with the Friday and Saturday.

Regardless, your itinerary is quite do-able, (in my opinion)"rushing all over".









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May 3rd, 2007, 11:04 PM
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Thank you both very much. I'm going to take a look at my itinerary and cut a few things. I really appreciate your time
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May 4th, 2007, 03:26 AM
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I am for definately picking only 2 or 3 places and really spending time with seeing them. Skip Nantucket until you can commit to it for a couple days. Your original schedule will have you sitting in the car, probably in pretty bad traffic, most all your times. July can be very busy!
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May 4th, 2007, 03:49 AM
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I would also skip Mystic but also Provincetown.Instead of Hyannis you could stay in Wood's hole and take the ferry to Martha's Vineyard. The most important part you will miss is the Maine coast; Bar Harbor and Acadia nat.Park.PAul
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May 4th, 2007, 04:23 AM
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Skip Hyannis, Provincetown, Nantucket, Chatham - if you want tast of Cape Cod, concentrate on nearest 1/2 - Sandwich area - perhaps as far as Hyannis. Stay 2 nights on Cape Cod.

Pick Portsmouth, Kennebunkport, Ogunquit, or Portland and see something in one of them instead of just doing a drive-thru of 3 or 4 places.
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May 4th, 2007, 08:26 AM
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As others have mentioned, this is way too busy to enjoy anything.Trying to experience this much of the New England coast and Boston in one week is a serious overload. The Cape is much bigger than it looks on a map, and getting around can take a while, especially in summer traffic. I personally might skip Plimouth Plantation (even though it's very interesting), and spend more time to relax on the Cape. The Cape has some of the most beautiful beaches on the east coast - however Hyannis would not be my first choice as a town to stay in. Nantucket is a long boat ride for a day trip, I would just veg out on one of the Cape's great beaches for a day or two.
By all means try and spend some time in Boston, it's a wonderful city. I would skip the overnight in Portsmouth, and head up the coast from Boston, possibly spending a night about 1/2 way up into Maine.
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May 4th, 2007, 09:17 AM
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I agree with everyone else, you have way too much planned!

I's skip Mystic and spend 1 night in Newport, there is just so much to do there and it's beautiful.

Either drop Nantucket and stay on the outer Cape for a night or commit to 1 night in Nantucket.

I'd skip Plimoth Plantation and either add 1 night to your Boston trip or stay 1 night in Portsmouth.
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May 4th, 2007, 11:21 AM
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Don't drop Nantucket from your itinerary if you really want to go there. Just take an early ferry over and the last one back. Once there, you can walk all over, take a bus tour, take a taxi to Sconset and back (or rent bikes, but you may have to reserve ahead). There's plenty of literature on the ferry for seeing and doing and restaurant ads/coupons. Just know that nearly everyone gets off the ferry and heads straight for lunch, so the restaurants are mobbed for a while. Staying overnight on Nantucket would be very expensive (if you can even find something to book at this late date). Have a look at www.theverandahouse.com
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May 5th, 2007, 03:28 AM
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Your itinerary is the kind I would make if I were to visit a new area and try to see it all. My husband hated the long drive to Provincetown and it's not the part of the Cape he enjoyed because he is a tree person and not one for sand and dunes. OTH other people love that part of the Cape. He likes our trips to the coast to include some quiet time with a pair of binnoculars just watching the ocean. Some people enjoy a lot of driving, others don't. Mystic isn't my favorite place but my last visit was improved by a lobster roll lunch at Abbotts (great place on the water but a little tricky to find). I recommend a very detailed road map. For example, Rt 1 from Portsmouth to Portland is very commercial and could be congested with traffic (i.e. Kittery ME outlet mall area). If you take a winding route from Kittery Point to York, for example, it's far more scenic. (Sorry, can't remember the route #) A monday (July 30) might be an ok time to do this. The Boston Duck Tour is great fun but I would also add a harbor cruise in Portsmouth (or inland rivers). Portsmouth is one of those wonderful cities with an interesting downtown area, wonderful historic Strawbery Banke. Not sure when music/theater events take place in Prescott Park but it's a great place to walk, enjoy the busy harbor views (industrial plus the Navy yard across the way) and admire the wonderful flowers. For us, a coastal visit has to include lobster or fried clams. There are plenty of places not crowded with tourists but you are picking the areas most likely to have waits and traffic. Crowded, overpriced restaurants drive my husband nuts. (Our last visit to the Cape was on a rainy April weekend ... but no crowds!) If you're up to a fast pace, go for it but it doesn't look like you have any playing the waves time.
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May 5th, 2007, 08:48 AM
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The only thing I might add to this is if you do take an early ferry over - fast or not - and you do want to rent bikes, moped or a jeep, I would call first and /or get immediately to the rental place as those lines can be longer than the restaurant lines and they can run out of items

Also, if you are even considering a day or overnight rental, especially of a jeep, you need to reserve ahead and you may not be able to reserve for one day dpending on the timing many rental places offer only multiple night rentals during high season so check first; when we are there in July for a few weeks we have often had day or overnight visitors disappointed b/c they did not plan ahead.
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May 11th, 2007, 07:55 AM
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Call me crazy, this is what I would do:

July 24- Arrive Providence, RI

July 25- Drive to Newport, RI. Cliffwalk/One Mansion Tour in afternoon(stay in Newport)

July 26- All day - Plymouth Plantation, Drive to Boston Stay and park in Boston


July 27- Tour Boston

July 28- Take fast Ferry to Provincetown for the day. and take the trolly bus tour and/or Art's Dune Tour. Stay in Boston

July 29- Drive up to Portsmouth, NH late afternoon.

July 30- Drive along coast from Portsmouth, through Kennebunkport, to Portland.

July 31- Fly to Philadelphia PM.
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May 11th, 2007, 02:44 PM
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I second Seafox's itinerary above. Perfect solution!
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May 11th, 2007, 02:57 PM
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Three nights in Boston plus parking would be very expensive.

In my opinion, a trip to Provincetown on the ferry is not a visit to Cape Cod.

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May 11th, 2007, 08:22 PM
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It's true that hotels in any city can be costly, but Boston offers some fair priced hotels that are on par with any beach hotels in summer. My thought was a "base" for a few daus may take some pressure off. Provincetown is the first landing of the pilgrims (months before plymouth rock), much of the town retains its 18th century fishing village architecture, there are whales, The National Seashore and some of the Cape's best dining. Yes, it draws a diverse art community ... not a typical Cape town in that respect.... certainly more interesting the souvennier shops of Hyannis
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May 12th, 2007, 05:50 AM
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I took the P-town Dune tour for the first time two years ago, after appx 22 summer trips to the Cape. I couldn't believe what I had missed! It's like you're visiting another world - a very unique experience with historical perspectives unlike anything else you can do on the Cape. Provincetown is full of wonderful shops, great restaurants, and interesting walks. I think it's a wonderful representation of Cape Cod.

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May 24th, 2007, 07:46 PM
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Hi there.. maybe drive to Mystic when you arrive in Providence and head to Foxwoods or Mohegan Sun! It's easy to drive or get a cab back to Mystic. Mystic is pretty but a bit sleepy and Mystic Pizza doesn't taste like it has a special ingredient!

I think the Newport mansion walk is a great idea but you do need a good day to do it and see at least one mansion inside. Then grab a drink down at the harbor. You can always stay overnight at the Viking.

I think plymouth rock is cool but it is best to see it in the fall with the cranberry bogs--this may be something to skip.

If you do drive to P-Town, stop at Moby Dicks for a relaxing yummy cape cod dinner, it's in truro just at the edge of Wellfleet. Wellfleet has great beaches that are surrounded by dunes.. and it is national sea shore.

There is a passenger ferry that takes you from P-town to Boston (bay state cruises)... maybe you could drop a car at P-town airport, then pick up a car in Boston or not.. If you do stay outside of Boston --go for brookline --you can get deals and it's close.

you could stay in town and walk Boston or take the duck tour--I recommend seeing the USS Constitution, eat at Border cafe in Harvard Square (awesome tex-mex) or go to one of the cool italian pastry places on Hanover street for cappucino and cannolis (mike's is great.) Anthony's Pier 4 is a good place for an old fashioned new england meal and if you want the best lobster roll in town.. go to Quincy market and look for the Walrus and the Carpenter. Of course you could always try a great restaurant in the South End. Newbury street is great for people watching and high end shopping--Louis Boston is a landmark.

I would never trade a day or even an hour in Nantucket.. it's beautiful and unique --definitely take the fast ferry from hyannis.. you will enjoy the ride on Nantucket sound. I love to rent a bike or a moped and ride out to the lighthouse or Jetties Beach. If you want an amazing bistro lunch with a ocean view or dinner.. head to The Galley at cliffside beach club. Hyannis is a great walking town too.. jfk museum is small but cool...lots of bars and ice cream shops!

Even if you seem to have a lot on your plate....It sounds like you will get a good flavor and honestly you can't help but chill on the cape and the islands.

Haven't been to the NH Maine places but I hope you have a great great time.
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May 24th, 2007, 08:24 PM
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Hi There!

There is so much to do in New England and it's so tempting to want to do it all, but I think you'd enjoy your vacation much more by taking more time in each location.

I'm a lifelong resident of New England and I've been to all of your desired destinations.

I would skip Mystic Seaport in favor of Newport. It's a great town with neat shops, restaurants, gorgeous beaches and breathtaking mansions. You could easily spend three days in Newport alone. I'd arrive, spend the day, and spend the night.

The Cape in the summer is insane. I'd stay mid-cape, like chatham, and use that as a home base for two days.

Boston needs more than a day. To spend less than 24 hours does not give you a chance to see the city at all.

Portsmouth is my absolute favorite town in New England, but I think that it is ambitious to try to get there and drive up the coast to Maine. That really should be a whole other trip.

Since you are driving to Providence, my sugggestion would be to spend more time in Boston and South.

Here is what I would do:

July 24--Arrive Providence. Drive to Newport. Spend the day in Newport (do the beach and shops and bars). Stay in Newport (or nearby).

July 25--Spend the day in the mansions. Late afternoon, drive up to Cape. Stay on the cape for two nights. Chatham is a favorite spot.

July 26 and 27--Spend two days exploring the cape. Go to beach, explore shops, eat good food, drive to Provincetown if you want.
In the evening of the second day, Drive to Plimoth and stay in Plimoth.

July 29--Do Plimoth Plantation, Mayflower, etc. (you need a whole day to do it well).
Drive up to Boston and spend the night. Go to dinner and enjoy the nightlife.

July 30-31. Explore Boston until you need to head back to Providence. Fly home.

Good luck! I hope you love it as much as we do!

cara










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May 25th, 2007, 07:41 AM
  #20
 
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Cara's itin. seems most reasonable. I'd take Newport over Mystic anyday, not that Mystic isn't cute. Plymouth Plantation...kind of old...you could go to the Pequot Indian Museum instead. Nantucket to me...seemed blah except for the Town which was exquisite, but snobby. I'd go to Block or MV instead.
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